Chinese water torture

Jan Ivarsson janivars at BAHNHOF.SE
Sun Dec 10 20:54:30 UTC 2000

I've always heard "Chinese water torture" referred to as drops of water on the head of a tied-up person.
For the fans of the subject, there is an amusing little program to be had at

By the way, if one is to believe (water) and
a similar method was employed also in the U.S. in the 19th century.

Jan Ivarsson, Sweden

----- Original Message -----
From: <EdZotti at AOL.COM>
Sent: den 9 december 2000 00:35
Subject: Chinese water torture

> I'm researching the expression "Chinese water torture" for a newspaper
> column. I have found some discussion of "Chinese fire drill" on ADS-L and
> also at Morris quotes Hugh
> Rawson as saying,
> <<"the use of the modifier "Chinese" in the derogatory sense of "confused,
> disorganized or inferior" dates back to the time of World War I and was
> largely a British invention. Other "Chinese" slurs of the day included
> "Chinese ace" (an inept aviator), "Chinese national anthem" (an explosion)
> and "Chinese puzzle" (one with no solution)."Chinese fire drill" seems to be
> one of the few (fortunately) of these phrases that have survived in popular
> usage. >>
> However, nothing about "Chinese water torture" (which of course does not have
> the implication of confused, disorganized or inferior). I have asked several
> native Chinese speakers and "Chinese water torture" is unknown to them. So I
> put the question before the house. Does anyone have any knowledge of the
> origin of this term, or for that matter of the practice called by that name,
> that is, torture by having water dripped on you slowly?
> Thanks. -Ed

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