I admit it. I am a bit obsessed with the recent Paris Hilton going to jail news. On a news show round-table the other day, someone remarked on how Ms. Hilton’s going to jail might very well end up advancing her career. To which, one of the other commentators asked — with all sincerity — what is her career?  Can we not at least give her some credit for making the news while totally lacking in any ability beyond the ability to make the news?

Anyway, how would China law treat its own Ms. Hilton? How would the Chinese Paris Hilton handle such an arrest? In the U.S. legal system, the chance of a wealthy person going to jail is less than that of a poor person who has committed the same crime, with much of the reason for that being that the wealthy person is able to hire a much better legal team, rather than inherent corruption in the system.

Does the same hold true in China? Does the quality of your China criminal lawyer matter that much in China?


  • Alain Gray

    I’ve heard two stories about crime in China. The first involves the 11th richest man in China, Zhou Zhengyi. When he was an ally of Chen Liangyu, he recieved many favors while in prison in 2004. Now that Chen is gone, he could face the death sentence for corruption.
    I’ve also heard of a rather substandard traffic system in Shanghai and probably a lot of other cities where it is “recommended” you kill the pedestrian you hit to avoid legal hassles.
    It seems the Party has “priorities” it deals with seriously and other areas of the legal system are still underdeveloped. A Chinese Paris Hilton would’ve probably gotten off very easily due to the lack of respect for migrant workers who are more likely to be the pedestrians.

  • Paris Hilton Is So, Like Just So China, You Know

  • a chinese paris hilton would not have been stopped by cops in the first place. she’d be driving in a black, tinted sedan (audi?) and the police would be very hesitant to stop her.
    what i’d like to see is how many people in china drive with driver’s licenses..or at least ones that they procured legally. i’ve been offered a chinese driver’s license through “back door means” and i’m not even a mainland chinese resident.
    i think you’re comparing apples to oranges here..

  • nanheyangrouchuan

    It would depend alot on whether the Chinese Paris Hilton’s mom or dad was a senior party member. Being rich just means an expensive bribe. Actually, since the license plates of party members signify their rank in the party, the cops would have never pulled Paris over in the first place even if she hit a busload of migrants.

  • serwat

    “A Chinese Paris Hilton would’ve probably gotten off very easily due to the lack of respect for migrant workers who are more likely to be the pedestrians.”
    I disagree with the assumption that migrant workers are more likely pedestrians than others for a Chinese Paris Hilton to hit.
    Living and working here, I’d say the majority of people from ALL walks of life are frequently pedestrians and have had at least one near-hit or hit experience with a car.
    So, how does that fact change whether or not a Chinese Paris Hilton would get off for running someone over?
    I don’t know the answer to that, but have a hard time believing Chinese legal system would let any private citizen off for killing someone.
    Getting off if the person who was hit survived? I can imagine that.

  • mao yuan

    In China, the things are only little different.
    Basically, the wealth and social status determine the possibilities of been thrown into jail. However, the publicity of the case usually count.
    If,hypothetical, one bureau cadre wants to cover his son’s murder of a young waitress when drunk, he can commonly make it if he has enough cash or tight connection with the local authorities. However, if case is snooped by some
    meddlesome journalists or bloggers who reveal it to the public(usuually through the internet) and incur mass anger, the result could be different. Unfortunately, the possibility of exposure, compared to that of successful deal, would be quite scarce.
    And in terms of celebrity misconduct or crime, it would depend on the size of the protege’s umbrella, if you know what it means.

  • Sovereign John

    Paris Hilton has been found guilty and sentenced so if she doesn’t do time its because of her position not her use of the legal system. It has been said that her sentence has been reduced because there’s not enough room in the jail. If lack of room is the problem why not reduce a poor persons sentence to make room for Paris Hilton? It’s not money that will free Paris Hilton but corruption.
    Paris Hilton should serve her full sentence of which she’s already been found guilty. She’s proven to have been given warnings and decided to continue to break the law.

  • Well, while Niu Niu can’t really be called the Paris Hilton of China, she did get her daddy to force Shenzhen education bureau to force schools to take students to her movie. The story was widely publicized and her father Li Yizhen made a public apology.
    I think it depends on how much public attention will such a case get in China. If it is as highly publicized as the Hilton case, the government is likely to intervene and side with the law just for the PR value, especially under the Hu/Wen administration.

  • Alain Gray —
    I fear you are dead on.

  • dezza —
    I was in a cab in Yantai and we got hit by a very large Audi with tinted windows. Minor collision, but our cabbie certainly was not going to leave without getting paid. Police were nowhere to be seen.

  • nh–
    Could be.

  • serwat —
    I suspect you are right.

  • mao yuan —
    I buy what you are saying.

  • Sovereign John —
    So are you saying Ms. Hilton should be treated worse simply because she is rich?

  • David Li —
    I think you are right.

  • Will Blog For China “Dream” Job

    The July 9 issue of the National Law Journal has an article entitled, “Law blogs can be a successful strategy for job seekers,” and CLB’s own Travis Hodgkins is pictured and the focus. Well, okay, he’s not really with CLB, but he is with Harris & Moure…

  • Alex

    At the risk of starting a whole you new blog…
    I have just bought a car in Shanghai and have also jumped through all the hoops required to get my own driving license. (Medical was hilarious!) After 2 days of “freedom” on the open roads my nerves are completely shot! Beware bus drivers! I got verbally abused for actually stopping at a pedestrian crossing this morning. Got lost going to Ikea last night and got home at midnight…
    Still, Wife is happy.

  • Law Office of Todd L. Platek

    Alex: If you grew up in Manhattan as I did, you’d feel at home driving there. I share with you, however, the nasty tendency of stopping for pedestrians. It’s particularly bad luck to hit a pretty girl. Share that piece of lore with your wife and see whether she doesn’t agree; mine just glared at me with narrowed eyes when I said it.
    Chris D-E: Cannot agree. Try to be more generous to those ladies. They are not without abundant charms. When I see you, I’ll have the evidence in tow so that I get that bottle.

  • Paris Hilton

    OK I think all that’s written is right! Thanks to the author of the article.

  • Paris,
    Thanks for checking in. I’ve always been a big fan. Please vote for us too, while you are at it.

  • As to whether or not Paris would be arrested – where I am, Southwest China, it would depend upon whether or not a policeman actually saw the incident. Otherwise, not one at the scene would bother to phone the authority and report the accident. Everyone looks but no one see. Cultural conditioning, I believe. I have seen taxi’s run down pedestrians, motorcycle purse snatchers grabbing bags from unsuspecting and terrified women and a young cyclist hit an old woman crossing the street on a rainy night.
    The incident involving the old woman; I was having dinner at a sidewalk eatery some fifty feet or so from the spot of the accident when the biker hit the old woman resulting in a sickening “thud”, I looked up, a large crowd gathered on both sides of the street, then, he hurriedly dragged the limp body of the victim to the nearest available rickshaw (across two lanes of traffic), threw her in it, (this act of kindness?, I found particularly intriguing as others would not have bothered to help her but would have fled the scene posthaste), picked up his bike and disappeared into the dark, rainy night….no one made any attempt to hinder the departure of the offender.
    To this day (happened several months ago), I don’t know if she survived or whether the young cyclist was arrested.

  • Celebsworld

    Paris may get into the “spotlight” alot, but you can’t deny she is hot!