Disclaimer: the article actually contains a gruesome enumeration of cases, you might wish not to read it.

According to Slate the Chinese law is:

  • should you hurt someone (with a car?), you will provide for their care until death
  • should you kill someone (with a car?), you will provide for their burial

And because providing for someone's care is more expensive than providing for their burial:

  • reportedly, a number of Chinese drivers have purposefully backed on the injured, and driven forward again, to ensure the kill
  • reportedly, some driving instructors (in Taiwan) even recommend the practice

The fact that this practice would be "common" of course seems rather ludicrous (who in the heat of the event could think so coldly?), however the enumeration is lengthy, citing plenty of cases.

Thus the question is double:

  • did those gruesome cases actually happen?
  • if they did, does one has any idea of the frequency at which it could happen?

Note: apparently other countries such as Taiwan may also have the issue, let's focus on China here.

  • Now the only question left is "from law state of view, is it true that killing is cheaper than hurting"?. – Vorac Mar 13 '17 at 15:18
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    @Vorac: This would be a separate question :) – Matthieu M. Mar 13 '17 at 15:23

It appears that the story may be an invention or at least a massive exaggeration.

Greg Blandino, an expatriate living in China, examines the claims and the video evidence.

I only watched one of the videos because frankly I don't want to watch people being run over. The one I watched was the "wealthy young man reversing his BMW X6" and running over a child. To me it's clear that any reasonable person would agree with Greg Blandino's assessment that the driver was merely hapless rather than deliberately homicidal.

I also think that a wealthy young man driving an expensive car would be well insured. And they have mandatory car insurance in China.

Applying Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is that Slate simply made the story up or uncritically repeated an urban legend. After all, it is not uncommon for journalists to be lacking in integrity.

  • 3
    This is a really interesting link from Quora, well down unearthing it! Of course, I cannot read Chinese, so cannot say whether his translation is better, but it is at least more plausible. In order to make this answer more substantial, maybe it would be worth quoting the article (I would favor picking the one explanation with The second video with the kid... would shows a good counter argument: the driver did something stupid, but he is brave in the end). – Matthieu M. Sep 12 '15 at 15:16
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    To speak to your last paragraph: the author of the Slate article is a teacher at Fordham Law School and serves on the board of the New York Chinese Cultural Center. So I would expect him to be a bit better than a random journalist with respect to understanding Chinese culture. Not that this means that he is correct of course. – KAI Sep 14 '15 at 18:44
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    For what it's worth, the belief that drivers deliberately "finish the job" to avoid potentially more expensive compensation is extremely widespread in China. – Craig McMahon Sep 16 '15 at 7:14
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    @CraigMcMahon So is the belief that discussing a pregnancy before the second trimester will result in a miscarriage. Widespread belief does not make it any more true. – Ryan.lay Jul 11 '16 at 13:22
  • I suggest watching more than one videos from /r/watchpeopledie before posting an answer on this topic. To me this is clearly the case at least in some of these videos that the intentions of the driver are to kill once they injured someone. – kukis Jan 29 '20 at 11:43

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