While being sentenced to jail time might instill fear in some, Chinas wealthy can hire body doubles for their prison sentence.
According to Slate News, the practice of hiring “body doubles” or “stand-ins” for court appearances and prison sentences is well-documented by official Chinese media. For instance, in a case that involved a wealthy 20-year-old who was drag racing through the city streets of Hangzhou, China, Hu Bin struck and killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The 25-year-old telecom engineer of a modest, rural background was flung at least 20 yards from the point of impact.
While at first, Bin was receiving no punishment or further inquiry from the police, public outrage ensued over the incident as photos of the accident were shown throughout the country. In fact, the police had first suggested that Hu was going no more than 43 mph, which was an underestimate by half. Bin received a 3 year prison sentence, considerably lighter than the average case. However, while Bin received the sentence, it was not Bin who served it. Instead, the man who appeared in court and who served Bin’s prison term was a hired body double.
The practice is not uncommon in China, where there have been numerous incidents involving the hiring of body doubles to serve jail time. In addition, the practice has become so common that there is a name for it called ding zui, meaning “substitute criminal.”
While America is facing its own problems when it comes to the rich verse the rest of the 99 percent, China has a much more extreme situation as a much smaller fraction of the country controls an even greater amount of wealth. According to the Wall Street Journal, the top one-tenth of 1 percent in China controls close to half of the country’s riches. While a police officer, who chose to remain anonymous, explained how the practice is neither common nor uncommon, he stated that, “America has the rule of law, but China has the rule of people. If somebody is powerful, there’s a good chance they can make this happen. Spend some money and remain free.” He further explained that in cases involving the mafia, the underlings serve the time in place of the head figures, who then cares for the substitute’s family and pays a bonus for the time served.
While money holds the key to ensuring that the wealthy will get off scot-free, sometimes, family members cover for each other, especially in traffic related incidents. In an accident involving a drunk driver plowing through an old man( seen below), the driver’s son admits he falsely “confessed” to the crime to prevent police from testing his father’s blood-alcohol level.
The issue surrounding the wealthy and punishment came to a head in October 2010, when a young man driving drunk on the Hebei University campus struck two college women on rollerblades, killing one. The driver was the son of the deputy chief of the district police, and when security guards and students finally stopped him, he shouted: “Charge me if you dare. My father is Li Gang.” Accusations of an attempted cover-up of the brutal incident included conspiracy theories about using a body double.
Human Rights: Chinas Wealthy Can Hire Body Doubles for Their Prison Sentence.