Li Sijian: A Tragic Tale of Repentance and Self-Punishment

A juren from Yongnian County in the Kangxi Era, who committed a shocking act of self-punishment after a heinous crime, leading to his downfall.

Li Sijian was a juren (a degree holder) from Yongnian County. On September 28th in the fourth year of Kangxi’s reign, he personally killed his wife, Li Shi. The local authorities in Yongnian reported his case to Guangping Prefecture, and Guangping Prefecture subsequently sent officials to investigate in Yongnian. When Li Sijian was being escorted to the prefectural yamen (government office), he suddenly grabbed a butcher’s knife from a roadside meat rack, rushed into the City God Temple, climbed onto the stage in front of the temple’s deity, knelt down, and muttered to himself, “God reproached me for believing the deceitful words of wicked people, causing me to sow discord among my fellow villagers, and cutting off my ear.” After saying this, he cut off his left ear and threw it down onto the stage. He continued, “God reproached me for deceiving people for money, causing me to cut off my fingers.” After saying this, he cut off the fingers of his left hand. Then he said, “God reproached me for committing adultery with women, causing me to cut off my genitals.” After saying this, he castrated himself and then collapsed unconscious on the ground. At that time, Governor Zhu Yunmen had already submitted a memorial to the court requesting the removal of Li Sijian’s juren status, which had been approved by the court. However, Li Sijian himself had already been executed by the underworld’s Court of Punishments. I read this story in a copied edition of a government gazette.



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