Wealthy Chinese businessmen regularly avoid going to prison in China by sending a body double in their place. This ridiculous scheme is, in fact, a regular appearance when it comes to the extremely wealthy. Just commit whatever crime you want and then hire a body double, sounds fair no?
There are even reports of individuals avoiding manslaughter charges due to this method. One wealthy Chinese youth killed a 25-year-old engineer while speeding and hired a body double to appear in court and for his three-year prison service. The worst is that these cases do not appear to be isolated – Chinese media reports show businesses even making their employees confess to crimes they did not commit or even hire “substitute” criminals.
“America has the rule of law, but China has the rule of people”
Apparently, if you have enough money and enough power you can get out of any problem with this technique. According to the police, it is not that common but it is not exactly rare even. The Chinese mafia also uses this tactic and will even care for the substitute’s family.
Though we may find in many societies that family members cover for each other when it comes to certain driving offenses, actually paying for someone to take the punishment seems a twisted sense of justice.
Yet the worst is that some high ranking officials even argue that this is still punishment – because the real criminal has to pay for the “market value” of the crime to find a substitute. And that overall crime rates were lower because the substitute’s punishment helped intimate real criminals. This theory definitely seems a bit too farfetched to believe.
Even so, it is something that has been long engrained in Chinese culture, reports from western travelers go back as early as 1834 stating that stand-ins were being used to serve prison sentences and in some cases even for executions.