These photos of the Boxer Rebellion (1899 – 1901) are fucking brutal!!! Boxer rebels and criminals were put to death in view of the public in a very bloody way with no mercy. These acts of brutality were done as a warning to others not to cross the state.
A prisoner languishes in a small wooden crate.
Notice his long fingers
An executioner photographed in 1900
This prisoner in Hankow, China wears a ‘cangue’ (a device for public humiliation and corporal punishment) around his neck as well as an ankle chain.
This portable “stock”, or “pillory” was called a Cangue by the Westerners living in China, and a Mu Jia by the Chinese, themselves.
A submissive prisoner awaits a fatal blow in the rain while the other man averts his gaze.
He has been executed by decapitation
The decapitated body with the head in the executioner’s hands
French soldiers from the allied forces tie two alleged Chinese criminals to the stake in preparation for the firing squad
Firing squad sequence
Demonstrating a torture device in old China
If the man tied up in this torture device seems a little too cheerful considering his situation, there’s a reason for this. He wasn’t a prisoner. In fact, he was a guide whom the photographer used to help demonstrate the device. A real convict on the ladder-like contraption would definitely not have been looking so serene. Their shins would have been digging into the edge of the cross board every time they allowed their body to relax. And they wouldn’t have been able to sit or stand but would’ve been forced to stay in that uncomfortable, hunched position for as long as the punishment dictated.
The man in the photo is not a criminal. He is one of the photographer’s guides, and is simply posing with a slight smirk on his face — his shins carefully lifted off the cross boards.
But when they put it to use for real…
Can’t stand up. Can’t sit down. If you relax the tension of your body, your shins dig into the sharpened back-angle of the cross board under your knees. And you stay like this for days… and days… and days.
Chinese prepare to decapitate a Boxer Chief. Behind him a few onlookers have taken position
The executioner proudly holds up his sword after the deed is done. Note the children in the background
The decaying heads of two executed criminals hang as a gruesome public reminder.
A Slow Death In Old China
Sometimes, a quick beheading was the easy way out. Here, a man is pictured standing in a box, as a crowd watches his progress.
This is not a posed shot.
The convicted man has been here for a few days. He is standing on a pile of thin stones (or wooden planks).
Every day, one piece is pulled out, until you can no longer stand, and either your neck snaps under the weight of your body pulling on it, or else you slowly strangle to death.
The worst part is when you think you can put off death by standing on your tip-toes, and start to panic in that position…
Those last hours are the worst, until the moment comes when you let your body go limp for a moment to long — that moment when you hope for a rest and respite for your exhausted legs that have been struggling on and off to remain on tip-toes — and then the stretching and snapping of the neck, or strangulation against the collar of splintered wood that holds your neck in the final grip of death.
However, some time after this photo was taken, the above man died inside this wooden cell by another means, robbing the crowd of their chance to witness his final, desperate struggle inside the cage of death.
A friend reached up, giving him poison, thus bringing a swift end to his ordeal.
A bound and strung prisoner before the court in old China
He is surrounded by other bound people and one appears to have died from his torture session
Baskets of human heads and other body parts hanging on a city wall – a warning to evil doers in old China