Friday, 17 August 2012

Word of the Day: Ding Zui

Was this woman in the courtroom really Gu Kailai?
The verdict in the Gu Kailai case will be handed down on Monday morning.

There are still discussions about the trial, if it was fair, if she presented a strong defense, and if the facts presented were even correct.

But there was even more buzz around Gu herself -- was that really her?

In previous pictures, the wife of Bo Xilai kept herself not skinny, but not overweight like the woman we saw in the Hefei court room.

Some speculated perhaps it was the side effects of the anti-depression drugs she was taking.

On closer inspection, the woman in the dock seemed to have a more rounded chin, compared to Gu's which is more pointed.

That led to wild speculation that possibly that woman in court was a body double.

Earlier this month, The Slate published a fascinating article about how China's wealthy and influential hire body doubles to do hard time for them.

In many cases the person hired doesn't even look like the convicted.

As the story says, there's even a term for it --  顶罪 (ding3 zui4) or "substitute criminal" as ding means "substitute" and zui is "crime".

And the use of body doubles in China has been documented since the late Qing Dynasty -- even to be a substitute in executions.

What a crappy way to earn a living.

In any event, we're more interested to know -- was that really Gu?

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