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The Ten Abominations (十惡) were a list of offenses under traditional Chinese law which were regarded as the most abhorrent, and which threatened the well-being of civilized society. They are listed below. The first three were capital offences:
- Plotting rebellion (曰謀反): to overthrow the current regime. Commentary states: "The ruler or parent has no harbours [from plots]. If he does have such plots, he must put them to death." This means that if one harbours rebellious thoughts against the ruler or father, he must then put them to death.
- Plotting great sedition (曰謀大逆): to damage or destroy royal temples, tumuli, or palaces. Ancient Chinese belief in feng shui equated intentional damaging of royal property with casting a curse on the sovereign. This type of person breaks laws and destroys order and goes contrary to virtue.
- Plotting treason (曰謀叛): to defect to an enemy state, usually carrying national secrets.
- Contumacy (曰惡逆): to harm or murder one's own parents and grandparents; to murder one's own or husband's elder relatives.
- Depravity (曰不道): to murder three or more innocent people; to disembowel a victim's body after committing a murder; to produce gu and use it to cast curses.
- Great irreverence (曰大不敬): to show disrespect to the Emperor or his family.
- Lack of filial piety (曰不孝): to maltreat one's parents or grandparents, or to procure entertainment during periods of mourning (up to three years for one's parents).
- Discord (曰不睦): to harm or sue one's husband or elder relatives.
- Unrighteousness (曰不義): to murder one's superiors, mentor, or local government officials.
- Incest (曰內亂): to have affairs with concubine(s) of one's father, grandfather, or elder male relatives.
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