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Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 11:32:23 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
From: Steve Leibo <LEIBO@cnsvax.albany.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: Ming/Manchu Punishments etc.
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@msu.edu>

Pre-Qing Manchu Punishment

A dialog on the H-Asia list, November 1995

Date: November 22, 1995
From: PaulHoward@aol.com

I have a question about Manchu punishments carried out in Manchuria prior to 1644. I have an English-language source that mentions an edict issued in 1639 by the Board of Revenue during the Chongde era. The edict concerns tobacco prohibition and states that those who violate the ban will be sentenced to wear the cangue for 8 days and be made to walk through the eight gates [i.e. Fengtian]. Bodde and Morris doesn't seem to be of much help here.

My question is, what sort of punishment was it to be made to walk through 8 gates, and what gates are being refered to?

My guess is that Dr. Pamela Crossley at Dartmouth or Dr. Mark Elliot at UCSB may know, but I do not have their e-mail addresses and so cannot ask them directly. Hopefully they are signed up to this list.

Thanks to whoever can supply information.

Paul W. Howard, PhD candidate
Department of History,
University of Pennsylvania
3401 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228

From:IN%waltn001@maroon.tc.umn.edu Ann B Waltner

In John Whitmore's biography of Mac Dang-dung in the dictionary of Ming biography, it says that Mac and his ministers, threatened by a Ming invasion went to the border on foot with lengths of cord around their necks. When they got to the Ming camp, they crawled in barefoot, and gave a number of signs of acquiescence to Ming rule.

My question: what is the significance of the lengths of cord? Does it signify a recognition of the possibility of hanging/strangulation if the meeting went not well?

Many thanks.

Ann Waltner
University of Minnesota

Date: November 25, 1995
From: TSTANLEY@HKUCC.hku.hk (Thomas A. Stanley)

I showed the questions from Paul Howard and Ann Waltner to a colleague, Adam YC Lui who is an expert on the Ch'ing period and questions of crime and punishment. He asked me to post the following:

To Paul,

The punishment is to make the criminal lose face and make him determined not to commit the crime again. The eight gates were entrances to the city, and were the places where people crowded together for entry to and departure from the city. Again, the result was a public display and loss of face.

To Ann,

The lengths of the cords indicated that they were determined to surrender, and hinted that in case of treachery, they would be hanged. It was not the possibility of hanging, but a vow that they deserved hanging if they were not honest in their surrender.

I could transmit further questions for clarification if you wish.

Tom Stanley

From: XXu@ACS2.FMARION.EDU Xu, Xiaoqun (David)
Subj:Ming/Manchu Punishments

Since Paul Howard's question has not been answered by experts on Ming-Qing penal codes, I venture an explanation and wait to be corrected.

Under the Ming Penal Code (da ming lu), one kind of punishments for certain offenses was jia1 hao4--wearing cangue and being displayed (paraded) in public. The punishment could last one month, two months, three months, and so on. It seems to me that the punishment Howard mentioned belongs to this category. Made to walk through eight gates should be understood as being paraded and displayed in public. City gates were considered the most public of public places, along with market places (shi4). Very often markets were located near or around city gates. That is why beheading of offenders was usually carried out at markets and heads of executed criminals and rebels were hung at city gates. I don't know whether Fengtian actually had eight city gates at that time. If not, eight gates could mean all gates.

Incidentally, the punishment of wearing cangue and being displayed for eight days seems to have been quite light, probably because it was improvised (i.e. prohibition of tobacco was not in the Ming Penal Code). For comparison, if a woman shouted insults at officials who tried cases, she could be sentenced to one month of jiahao.

Xiaoqun Xu
Francis Marion U.