whyyoutookmyname t1_j6brep5 wrote

Sort of, but it's a little bit different from Japan. The Chinese term 赐死 roughly translates to "ordered/forced suicide" in English.
Seppuku was mostly voluntary and often considered honorable.
On the other hand, only the king or the Emperor in China had the power to order someone to commit suicide. Unlike seppuku, the ordered suicide in China was not exactly honored, but it was certainly better than execution.

For example, if Wu Zixu was ordered to be executed,  he would be treated like a criminal with no dignity. He had to spend his time in jail eating terrible or even spoiled food, wearing dirty clothes, living in a filthy cell room, etc. When the time came, the peasants would watch his execution in public. And worse, since he was considered guilty of treason, his family and relatives could also be exiled or executed.
So when Fu Chai ordered him to commit suicide, it more or less sent a message like this:

"Look, Wu Zixu, you have committed a terrible crime. Normally, you and your children will be executed, your siblings and parents will be exiled, and your grandchildren will be known as the desendents of the traitor. But since you have made significant contributions to our kingdom, I'm giving you the choice to end all of this with dignity. I promise you, everything will be resolved once you end your life, and your family will be spared. If you don't do it now, then I have to do it myself. Things will get really ugly, for me, for you, and for your family."

When the Emperor ordered you to commit suicide, you would usually receive one or more of the following: a long strip of white silk (for hanging yourself), a cup of poisoned wine, or a sword. Before ending yourself, you would need to thank the emperor for allowing you to keep your (and your family's) dignity. You will not be honored, but you will not look too bad in history record and your family will be saved.


whyyoutookmyname t1_j6b2x52 wrote

Wu Zixu (伍子胥) did not suggest the assassination. He helped Fu Chai (夫差), the King of Wu, by reforming their kingdom and building a formidable army. They defeated the Kingdom of Yue in the Battle of Fujiao (夫椒之战), and broke into the capital city of Yue. Gou Jian (勾践), the King of Yue, was trapped on the Kuaiji Mountain (会稽山) with his remaining force of 5000 soldiers.

At this point, Wu Zixu insisted on forming an alliance with the Kingdom of Qi, so they could wipe out the Kingdom of Yue and sentence the King of Yue to death. However, Gou Jian bribed Bo Pi (伯嚭), who managed the royal affairs in the Kingdom of Wu. Though Wu Zixu had more power in the kingdom, Bo Pi was much closer to the king.

Fu Chai was already content with the victory, so he followed Bo Pi's advice. Ignoring Wu Zixu's warning, Fu Chai accepted Gou Jian's surrender and withdrew from the Kingdom of Yue. Later, Bo Pi framed Wu Zixu and accused him of treason. Convinced by Bo Pi and deemed Wu Zixu guilty, Fu Chai sent Wu Zixu a sword and ordered him to commit suicide. Filled with anger, Wu Zixu took his own life.

In the end, Wu Zixu was correct. In 482 BC, Fu Chai defeated the Kingdom of Jin, the most powerful kingdom at the time. However, after Fu Chai brought most of his force to the war, the Kingdom of Wu was undefended. Gou Jian, after keeping his profile low for ten years, saw the opportunity and attacked the Kingdom of Wu. In 473 BC, Fu Chai was defeated in battle, and the Kingdom of Wu fell.