Monday, December 22, 2003


The Emperor had inquiries made and the scholars' houses searched. Subjected to severe interrogation, the scholars vied with one another in making damning accusations against their colleagues. The interrogators, taken aback, referred these to the Emperor, who cross-examined the scholars himself and exposed the contradictions in their evidence. He obtained four hundred and sixty-three confessions. The accused all admitted they were guilty of insults and slander against the Sovereign Emperor, of conspiracy, sabotage, and attempted murder. That they had tried to overthrow the dynasty and restore the hateful old regime of feudalism.

The entire population of Double Light was ordered to be present at a show designed to intimidate the citizens and terrorize the opposition. Pits were dug and the scholars buried alive in them after suffering the five tortures: bastinado, amputation of the nose, branding of the cheek, amputation of the feet, and castration.

—Jean Lévi's The Chinese Emperor


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