The Western Han Dynasty once used the concept of “not going to the doctor by torture” to force the death of the virtuous Prime Minister Xiao Wangzhi

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Xiao Wangzhi

“Punishment without going to the doctor” was not only an ancient system, but also a popular idea. Eunuchs Hong Gong and Shi Xian used this idea to force Xiao Wangzhi to death.

In the book of rites, Quli, there is a saying that “punishment does not go to the doctor”. This does not mean that nobles and scholar bureaucrats will not be brought to justice if they break the law, but that there is no conventional “law” for such people. This is to save face for them, but also for the monarch or the emperor. How to deal with it? There is the “eight proposals”, that is, there are eight kinds of people who break the law, and the general judicial organ has no right to try them. Instead, it is decided by the highest level, either innocent or self adjudicated.

According to Zhou Li Dian Shi, if an aristocrat with the same surname commits a crime of death, he will find a wild place to kill him, so that he won’t have to be taken to the execution ground to make a fool of himself.

Xiao Wangzhi was a virtuous Prime Minister of the Western Han Dynasty. He offended eunuchs Hong Gong and Shi Xian, and was framed by the latter. Once, Xiao Wangzhi’s son wrote to emperor yuan of the Han Dynasty to defend his father. His words were a little too extreme. Hong Gong and Shi Xian seized the opportunity to ask Xiao Wangzhi for a “crime of disrespect”. Emperor yuan of the Han Dynasty sent people to the prime minister’s residence to summon Xiao Wangzhi. Xiao Wangzhi had a high self-esteem. Seeing this, he thought he would be imprisoned and tortured, so he wanted to commit suicide, but his wife stopped him and thought it was not the emperor’s intention. Xiao Wangzhi asks the student Zhuyun again. Zhuyun said: teacher, you can kill but not insult. Xiao Wangzhi knew that he was not guilty of death, but in order to avoid being humiliated, he said: “I am a general. I am over 60 years old. It is not contemptible to go to prison and strive for life!” He has been a general for decades and is still in prison in his sixties. What is the face? So “drinking poison to commit suicide”.

When emperor yuan of the Han Dynasty learned this, he regretted it. He didn’t eat any food and cried for a long time. However, he couldn’t come back to life after death. He had to take care of his descendants and promoted several of his sons.

It can be seen that “punishment without going to the doctor” was not only an ancient system, but also a deeply rooted concept. Eunuchs Honggong and Shi Xian used this concept to force Xiao Wangzhi to death.

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