Portrait of Enfa Zhou Awaiting Execution, 1907

Source: Quentin Gregory Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #200

Photograph of Enfa Zhou, a Chinese bandit leader, 1907

Photograph of Enfa Zhou, a Chinese bandit leader, 1907

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo


This is a photograph of Enfa Zhou, leader of a gang of Manchurian guerilla outlaws, prior to his execution by the Chinese Government, on 8 March 1907 [according to the Chinese lunar calendar]. The captions printed in Chinese characters on the photograph describe Zhou as a violent career criminal who had escaped several previous arrests and had roamed the Southern Manchurian countryside for many years during his criminal career. The board tied to Zhou’s back records his name and a list of his crimes and would have allowed witnesses to follow his public execution more easily. The wooden stocks binding his feet prevent a repetition of his previous escapes.

The image is from the Quentin Gregory Papers. Gregory, born on 4 February 1880, was a native of Halifax County, North Carolina. He attended Horner Military School in Oxford and was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1902. He was then employed by the British-American Tobacco Company as one of its representatives in China from 1905 to 1920. Upon his return to Eastern North Carolina he served as president of the Bank of Halifax, from 1921 to about 1956, when he was made chairman of the board. In 1968, he retired from active business. The Gregory Papers include many such images of China during the early years of the 20th century and is representative of several dozen collections housed in the Special Collections Department that document the activities of American missionaries and businessmen working in China during that period.

I am indebted to Prof. Huanqing (Happy) Lu of ECU’s Department of Construction Management for his rough translation of the Chinese characters.

To view an enlarged version of the image, click on the image itself.