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Ji Ben (吉本; died 200) was a Chinese physician who lived during the late Han Dynasty period of Chinese history. Ji is also known as Chi T'ai in C.H. Brewitt-Taylor's texts. He made a failed attempt to assassinate Cao Cao.
Attempted assassination of Cao Cao 
In the year 200, While tending to the ill Dong Cheng, he overheard Cheng speaking in his sleep of having the chancellor, Cao Cao, assassinated. Cao Cao had claimed the young Emperor Xian, utilising his authority to further his own ends, much to the disgust of loyalist Han officials such as Dong Cheng, who were aware of Cao's intentions. Xian, aware that his position had been usurped in all but title, instigated a scheme to have Cao Cao removed quickly and quietly. Xian called upon his most loyal retainers, including Dong, and passed them the details of this plot via a belt hidden inside a robe. After Dong had awoken, Ji requested that he be allowed to participate in the former's plot, stating that "Although I am a physician, I am also a man, and I never forget my emperor. You have seemed sad for many days, but I have never ventured to ask the reason. Now you have shown it in your dream, and I know your real feelings. If I can be of any use, I will help. Nothing can daunt me."
Initially, Dong was hesitant, believing that Ji might betray him and his fellow conspirators to Cao Cao. Such was his hatred of Cao Cao, Ji bit off his finger and signed an oath of allegiance in his own blood to prove his loyalty, winning Dong's trust. Although Dong now had faith in Ji, many of his allies and comrades had recently been executed and chased away by Cao Cao, leaving him feeling the situation to be hopeless. Ji, however, had been attending to Cao Cao's increasingly serious headaches for an extended period of time. As Cao Cao's physician, Ji informed Dong that, upon Cao's next request for treatment, he would simply concoct a poisonous mixture which he would then add to Cao's regular medicinal potion. Dong praised the physician as a hero, stating that he would be "the saviour of the dynasty" were he able to accomplish such a feat.
However, one of Cheng's disgruntled young servants, bitter after being disciplined for conversing with a concubine, met with Cao Cao, and informed him of his master's plot. Cao Cao, unsure what to make of these allegations, wished to test his physician's loyalty, feigning a headache and sending for Ji Ben. As Ji prepared the remedy, Cao Cao made an unusual request that his physician first test the mixture to ensure its quality, and that he would then swallow the remainder as per usual. Ji, sensing that his ploy had been discovered, wrenched Cao Cao's head forward by the ear and attempted to force the deadly substance down his throat. Cao Cao frantically pushed the poisonous mixture away from his face, where it fell to the floor and spilt. Cao's guards, who had been awaiting his signal, rushed forth and seized Ji who cursed at Cao Cao's trap.
Trial and execution 
Ji Ben was then tightly bound and brought before Cao Cao once more. Even in capture, Ji maintained a bold front, refusing to cower or display weakness in the face of his opponent. Cao Cao offered to spare Ji's life, provided that he betray his co-conspirators identities. Ji sneered at this gesture, stating that "You are a rebel; you flout your Prince and injure your betters. The whole empire wishes to kill you. Do you think I am the only one? I have failed, and I can but die." Cao Cao, enraged at his would-be assassin's insubordination, ordered his troops beat Ji to within an inch of his life, in an attempt to loosen his tongue. The guards then dogged him for two entire watches, only ceasing when Cao Cao feared that the abuse would kill his prisoner. It is said that Ji Ben's skin hung in tatters, his flesh was battered beyond repair, and that the blood from his wounds poured down the steps as if water, and yet, Ji refused to betray Dong and his allies. Cao Cao, although infuriated, order that the prisoner be allowed to rest somewhat before his next ordeal.
Cao Cao, already aware of Ji's fellow conspirator's names, having been divulged by Dong's servant, ordered a banquet be prepared and invited all involved to attend. During the feast, Ji was once again brought out before all in attendance, and ordered to relinquish all knowledge of the assassination details. Refusing to do so, Ji was once again severely beaten by Cao's troops while Dong's allies looked on in fear. After being beaten and revived with ice water several times, and only opening his mouth to further insult Cao Cao and his men, Cao grew tired of Ji. No longer caring to gather solid evidence to implicate Dong's colleagues in the ploy, Cao had them all seized and imprisoned despite passionate denials by each of the men involved. Cao Cao then confronted Dong Cheng at his residence, as Dong had claimed to be too ill to attend the banquet. Cao Cao once again brought forth the broken figure of Ji Ben and ordered that he once again be beaten. However, Cao's troops explained that there was not a single part of Ping's body that could be beaten any further, so Cao ordered that his men take a knife and cut off all of Ji's remaining nine fingers. After this was done, Ji shouted "Still I have a mouth that can swallow a traitor and a tongue that can curse him." Cao Cao then ordered that Ji's tongue be cut out, and after this, Ji finally asked for mercy, requesting that Cao remove his bonds so that he may divulge the plot details. Upon removing Ji's restraints, the physician rose to his feet, turning to face the Emperor's palace, and bowing down. He then said "It is Heaven's will that thy servant has been unable to remove the evil." With all the might left in his body, Ji smashed his head against the ground, killing himself.
Despite Ji's silence, the details of the plot and the pledge signed by each of the conspirators was discovered when Cao's troops ransacked Dong's residence. Cao had all involved put to death. The famous poet, Mi Heng, wrote a poem in Ji Ben's honour, it reads:
There lived in Han a simple physician.
No warrior, yet brave
Enough to risk his very life
His Emperor to save.
Alas! He failed; but lasting fame
Is his; he feared not death;
He cursed the traitorous Prime Minister
Unto his latest breath.
It can be argued that Ji Ben's assassination attempt was not a complete failure. This event left Cao Cao extremely paranoid and distrusting of physicians. In the 220, Cao Cao's headaches grew in intensity and began to occur at great lengths, his subordinates begged that he allow a physician to attend him. However, Cao steadfastly refused, fearing this to be the perfect opening for another assassination attempt. Soon after, Cao Cao would die of a suspected brain tumour, a tumour which he would allow no physician to treat due to the events of Ji Ben's attempted assassination. Had this not occurred, Cao Cao may have perhaps been cured of his illness and lived for an even longer period of time.