In "Driven to Kill - Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit", it's claimed that there's an adage in Chinese of “It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure.”

Does this adage exist, and in what contexts is it typically used (that is, is it used in the context of driving, or mainly in other contexts)?

3 Answers 3


It appears to be:


although it's not very commonly used; Googling "撞伤不如撞死" gives 83 results.

It breaks down as follows:

  • 撞伤 = "bruise / bump"
  • 不如 = "not equal to / not as good as / inferior to / it would be better to"
  • 撞死 = "to knock down and kill sb with a car / to run over sb / to run sb down"

It's used precisely for motor accidents where the driver decides to continue to murder the victim.

This VOA video uses the term when reporting on the Slate article. It's also the headline of this Sina news article describing the phenomenon. The earliest article I found with this term is here (which Google says is from 1996) which discusses the possibility of using it as a legal loophole.

  • Just want to make it clear that this is not an "adage" whatsoever. It is just a sentence describing a legal loophole.
    – Betty
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 7:50

Not sure if this is directly translated from the English or not but:





宁撞死 勿撞伤

I would go with the last one.

There's this Sina article from '06

交通肇事潜规则:宁撞死毋撞伤? http://news.sina.com.cn/s/2006-12-24/123010849978s.shtml?from=wap

Talking all about it.

As for context, like the title of the article says above its really just a "unwritten" traffic "rule". I haven't seen it used in other contexts but I'm sure you could draw an illustration, especially just by tacking a -般 on the end.

  • 2
    Please read the question again...
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 5:43
  • @NS.X. What's the problem? I didn't answer the part about contexts (yet) but I'm pretty sure that's the adage for “It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure.”
    – Mou某
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 5:58
  • 2
    The OP was asking is there any adage (aphorism, proverb, famous saying) for it. The second question about context implied the adage may not even be originated from traffic scenarios. “宁撞死毋撞伤” is an authentic way to express the meaning but not an adage. As the other comment suggested, “一不做二不休” is along the adage line, but the meaning is not close enough.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 8:03
  • 3
    If an adage is only referring to a short statement or phrase, you can make up one (or find one made up by other person on the internet) for anything, which renders the question meaningless. It only makes sense if OP was looking for a proverb or at least well-known saying. But I'll leave it to the OP to determine if this answer is good enough.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 9:46
  • 1
    The linked Sina article answers the OP's question very well. There currently is such a saying and (some) people in China attribute it to driving instructors, So the question that remains is: does linking to an answer in Chinese count as answering a question on this site? Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 11:14

Not exist.

"It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure” is only because according to the statical calculation, the drive will pay more 400k RMB if they hit someone injured.

This sentence just reflects the law need to be amended.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.