Street executions in China, 1920s
Some hundred years ago–there are still a few people alive who were alive then, so we’re not talking ancient history–the American Museum of Natural History sent Roy Chapman Andrews to China to organize scientific expeditions. Andrews and his wife rented a house in the capital city of Peking.
This period of Chinese history was characterized by endless turbulence, mostly violent. Here is a snapshot of it, an eyewitness account, from Andrews’ book, Ends of the Earth (1929).
“Every change in the local political aspect in any part of China produces a series of executions. The new gentleman in control proceeds to rid himself of all those who might make trouble by the effective method of a firing squad or the headsman’s knife. For a week or two the grisly business goes on. Often the heads are hung on telephone poles in various parts of the city or exhibited in small bamboo cages as a warning to others.
“Usually the executions are performed at certain definite places but sometimes they happen right in the middle of the street. I cannot forget one day when looting started in Peking only a short distance from my house. The authorities in charge of the city had given very definite instructions to the gendarmes charged with maintaining order. I was driving up a broad street… when a terrific commotion started in three small shops. A dense crowd blocked the way. Suddenly there was a rush and four men were dragged into the street by a dozen gendarmes. They were made to kneel almost in front of my car while one of the police lopped off their heads in less than three minutes. It was done so quickly that I hardly knew what was happening and it certainly did stop the looting. The bodies were left in the middle of the street for three days.”
Our own cities are drawing perilously nearer to this. This is what’s in store for us if we keep going as we’re going. And it’s the Democrat Party that will take us there.