Baby You Can Drive My Car … Right over Them! By Peter Ewer

     There is debate on the internet about whether or not this is true, so buyer beware, but it is alleged that in China, in the news a bit lately, all good too, if a pedestrian is hit, drivers will then make sure they are dead, by having another go and backing over them! Sounds a bit of a racist urban legend to me, to fuel anti-Chinese hatred by crazed conservatives wanting revenge over the coronavirus. But, you never know until you go, so when travel restrictions are lifted, I will go to China, get knocked over by a car, and see if anyone backs over my fool head, and report back if it gets squashed:

“It seemed too shocking and warped to be true: that there exists an "unspoken rule" among Chinese drivers that it is better to leave a pedestrian dead than alive if they are accidentally run over by one's vehicle. But Geoffrey Sant, an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University and special counsel at the Dorsey & Whitney law firm in New York, argued just that.  Writing in Slate, he said that mainland China's "perverse" victims compensation law meant the cost of recompensing an injured but alive victim outweighed that of indemnifying the family of one who died. Sant first heard about the concept of "hit to kill" when he was living in Taiwan from 1996 and 2000. He also lived in other parts of Asia until 2003. However, some readers commenting on the story questioned the veracity of the claim, saying there was a lack of statistics and that it painted an incomplete picture of Chinese drivers. Taiwan and the mainland have different regulations on traffic and compensation, with Taiwan having traffic courts that can handle criminal cases involving drivers. Still, his article titled "Driven to kill" has been shared 99,100 times on Facebook, drawn more than 1,200 comments (mostly shock and disbelief) and even inspired Slate to host an online question-and-answer session with Sant. Here, Sant - who still spends "extended periods of time" in China, including Hong Kong - answers queries from the South China Morning Post on justice, driving in China and scepticism over the "hit to kill" phenomenon. I was aware of the hit-to-kill phenomenon as early as the mid-1990s, when (as I mention in my article) a friend told me about it.

However, I hadn’t really thought about writing it until around 2012. In 2012, I wrote an article on a different issue – the problem of substitute criminals, where a person will hire or arrange someone else to take his place in prison or court. After that article, one of my PRC [mainland Chinese] friends asked me if I planned to write next about the double-hit phenomenon. At the time, however, I felt that Western audiences wouldn’t believe the story unless I found a lot of actual videos showing it happen. This summer, I finally had some free time, and searched out videos that showed hit-to-kill cases, such as security cameras that caught drivers repeatedly driving back and forth over a pedestrian. Once I found a number of videos, I felt comfortable writing the story. You also say in the article that hit-to-kill cases are “fairly common” – do you mind expounding on how you arrived at this conclusion? I think the “fairly common” comment has been misunderstood by some readers. I want to clarify that by “fairly common,” I am referring to the fact that these cases occur regularly and repeatedly across the course of a year. I am not claiming that a high percentage of traffic accidents result in hit-to-kill. How common is hit-to-kill? On July 5, 2013, People’s Daily [the Chinese Communist Party’s newspaper] republished an editorial on hit-to-kill that had originally appeared in Worker’s Daily. In this editorial, People’s Daily quoted a truck driver as saying, [translated] “Actually, the idea that it is better to hit to kill than hit and injure has already become an unspoken rule in our profession. "Each of us is actually able to pay out the compensation required for hitting and killing a person, but I’m afraid that not everyone can pay the compensation for hitting and injuring a person.” The People’s Daily editorial acknowledged that the compensation payment for crippling or putting a person into a vegetative state could be “bottomless”.

     Ok, there is an economic reason for this, so, in our paradigm, it is understandable, whatever the morality, because money always trumps morality, doesn’t it?



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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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