In the history of human society, there has been numerous “human behaviors” that were not only irrational but also unimaginably cruel in nature. Male eunuchs and female foot binding are two well-documented examples of them. Both behaviors have existed widely for thousands of years.

Eunuchs existed in many countries, including ancient Middle East, ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Korea, China, Ottoman Empire, India and many more. In China, castration included removal of the penis as well as the testicles.

In Beijing, two clinics were especially famous for performing castration. Their skills were said to be so good that many people called it “painless operation”. The procedure includes giving patients a cup of strong liquor first, then after cutting off both organs with a knife at the same time, a hot iron is placed on the wound to “seal” the bleeding. Despite the clinics’ “good skills”, more than half of their patients die immediately after the operation.

Those who lived, however, would soon find themselves on a shortcut toward the top lifestyle. Some of the eunuchs gained immense power equivalent to today’s prime ministers level. Castration was apparently considered an achievement or stylish move for men in a long period of time in many parts of China. Castration became especially popular in Ming dynasty and self-castration became a common practice in many places. Over 70,000 eunuchs were employed by the emperor by the end of Ming, many of who self- castrated. This phenomenon of men castration has lasted for hundreds of years in China and even longer in some other countries around the world. The last eunuch in China, Sun Yaoting, died in 1996.

Foot binding is another insanity that has existed in the history of China. At first, foot binding was popular only among upper class Chinese women. Quickly, it spread throughout the country as it become a new trend of fashion. Much like wearing high heel shoes today, foot binding was considered to be beautiful and to make a woman’s movement more feminine and sexy. A foot of 3 inches long is considered to be the perfect size and was given the name of “Golden Lotus” to appreciate the beauty of it (silver lotus for 4 inches, and so on). Foot binding has existed for over 1000 years in China. The tradition demised only after the government impose ban on it early last century.

“Chicken blood therapy” gained its popularity from Shanghai. It was said that a high rank nationalist, who was facing execution, traded the secret in exchange for his life. The secret soon becomes known to everyone and the treatment swept the country. For nearly a decade, hundreds of millions of people injected chicken blood to their bodies, leaving one colloquial expression:

“I’m so excited it’s like I’ve been injected with chicken blood”

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