Torture in China: A great civilization has a long tradition of inflicting gruesome pain…


Almost every prisoner in the People’s Republic of China had to or still has to suffer being beaten and kicked. This by far most common form of abuse is especially easy to spot once the prisoner has been released from prison as the victims exhibit widespread bruises and injuries on their bodies. Numerous victims of torture have reported that the beatings and other torture methods stopped a few weeks before they were due to be released from the camps or penitentiaries in order not to leave behind any external signs of the abuse.

Beating as well as other torture methods (see below) cause wounds, which in most cases are not given medical care or it is given too late. Inflammations and even greater pain can be the consequence of further abuse.

Torture methods in the People’s Republic of China


Chinese Water Torture

Chinese water torture or a Dripping Machine[1] is a mentally painful process in which “dangerous” cold water is slowly dripped onto the scalp, forehead or face for a prolonged period of time allegedly making the restrained victim insane.[1] I.e. instilling fear and deterioration in the subject’s mind. The victim can immediately be relieved in humiliation mid- or post-process by finally revealing that “it’s just water” and in fact there wasn’t any real danger to the subject. This form of torture was first described by Hippolytus De Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century.[1][2]

The effects can potentially be maintained for a period of permanent duration if the victim is continuously left unwitting regarding the true nature of the perceived treatment. Any such treatment can constitute Chinese water torture, whether the process is sustained finally boils down to the subject’s perceived intentions and motives of the perpetrator. This is even true for the severely potent variants, e.g. in relation to mock executions in which the victim never finds out it was actually a deception, as learned from a famous deadly story about a nasty student prank at a medical school in the 18th Century.[3]

Although psychological torture has been recognized as causing more damage, more severe and long-lasting damage than the pain of physical torture,[4] legal status is disputed and many nations have only banned physical torture even though all forms of torture are banned in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A).

A reproduction of a Chinese water torture apparatus at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial


An 1858 illustration from the French newspaper Le Monde illustré, of the lingchi execution of a French missionary, Auguste Chapdelaine, in China. In actuality, Chapdelaine died from physical abuse in prison, and was beheaded after death.,it%20was%20banned%20in%201905.&text=Some%20Westerners%20were%20executed%20in%20this%20manner.


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