Chinese Criminals Buy Their Freedom with Cash

It’s incredible what money can buy! In China, being a criminal is easier than you might imagine. Even if you get caught, your freedom doesn’t necessarily have to be threatened. If you’ve got enough cash, someone else can do time for you. Still think your country’s justice department is corrupt?

Apparently, Chinese criminals have been paying body doubles to do prison time for centuries. Reports even say that in the past some people were willing change places with a criminal for an execution, only to keep their families from starving to death. What’s even more incredible is that some imperial officers accepted this practice and considered very effective too. They felt that the criminals were punished by having to pay the market value of their crimes, while the other potential criminals were discouraged to continue on their wrong paths by seeing how the stand-ins were punished.

This controversial practice is “not common but not rare either” in China, according to a Chinese police officer. People in this country even found a name for the practice: ding zui, which means “substitute criminal”. Ding zui became a very popular subject in 2009, when multiple cases of substitute criminals were discovered and made public.

In some cases, the sum a stand-in received was incredibly small: $8,000 for several years of prison, or even $31 per day for as long as the sentence would last. There really are some things that money can’t get, but freedom is definitely not on the list!

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