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MONGOLIAN OATHS.

PROCEDURE IN CHINESE COURTS. In the Flowery Land oaths, as understood by Englishmen, are unknown in the courts of justice. In a Chinese court, the mandarin sits at the head of a small table, surrounded by soldiers. A double file of soldiers extends a long distance round the hall, and the witness is not allowed to come within 30 feet of the magistrate. The witness is introduced under an armed guard, and immediately, upon entering the temple of justice, is compelled to fall prostrate. With head touching the matting, he is compelled to crawl upon his hands and knees to the appointed place. No oath is administered, but the witness gives his evidence without raising his head from the ground or daring to look at the mandarin or anj'one else in the court. The solemnity of the proceedings, and the display of power to punish if perjury is perpetrated, is considered by the mandarins sufficient to ensure truthful testimony. In Australia several methods, of administering oaths have been used. Some time'ago a paragraph went round the papers, showing that the present method of blowing out a match was introduced from motives of economy. For general information, we publish the words used in the three oaths which it has been customary to administer to Celestials. It may be mentioned that the only oath a Buddhist Chinaman considers binding is CUTTING OFF A COCK'S HEAD. This is only resorted to in China in oases of emergency. When a crime has been committed, the perpetrator of winch the police are unable to discover, anyone who • maybe suspected is brought up before the mandarin of the district. If the accused man persists in his innocence, he is taken ■ to the front of a joss house, and seated in public. Two large tapers are lighted, and three sacred sticks are placed between them crosswise. The suspected individual then kneels down reverently, UNCOILS HIS PIGTAIL, and after muttering a prayer, takes a cock in his left hand and a sharp knife in the other, and repeats the following, of which we give an English translation ;—“ May it please heaven and earth and the gods, and evil spirits, I , this day, swear by my own mouth to tell the truth. If I do not speak truly, may the gods and evil spirits punish me, as the fowl dies under the sword and the body will be divided or : ’ drowned in the high seas, and my soul will be cast down into hell, and likewise ■ the souls of my children will be consigned ' to eternal perdition.” Chinese criminals have been known to confess to committing murder rather than take this oath, which is the most terrible and binding known in the countries where the Buddhist religion prevails. BREAKING A PLATE is an oath peculiar to the Amoy province of China. It is only used in war time, and is practically a sworn declaration of fealty. When soldiers are enlisted they are drawn up on parade, and each man swears as follows, smashing a plate as ho utters the last word :—“ln the face of the enemies of my country I swear to truly obey all orders, to be faithful to my cause, and never to betray my leaders:. If I break my word, I hope to be killed by the first bullet fired by the enemy, or to drop down dead before a shot is fired.’ BLOWING OUT A MATCH is unknown in Chinese courts of justice.' It is used among Celestials in ordinarylife nuch as a bullock driver blasphemously ornaments and emphasises an assertion. As an oath, blowing out a match . is practically meaningless among Chinamen. The formula runs as follows :—- The witness takes a match in his right hand, and says, “I swear-to tell thetruth. If Ido not tell the truth may my . life terminate as soon as this match is : . blown out.” . \.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800701.2.16

Bibliographic details

MONGOLIAN OATHS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 120, 1 July 1880

Word Count
649

MONGOLIAN OATHS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 120, 1 July 1880

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