One of those China corruption jaw droppers:
In 2007, Zhang Hai, then chairman of the Jianlibao Group, a congolomerate known for its energy drinks, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fraud and embezzlement. In February 2011, he was released due to his assistance in helping solve other cases. Turns out, however, that Zhang’s selflessness wasn’t so selfless. In January 2014, Xinhua announced that Zhang hadn’t aided in other cases, but colluded with his lawyer, and a deputy warden, to get his freedom. (After being released, Zhang fled and remains at large as of this writing.)
It turns out that Zhang’s escape was no fluke: Money can buy freedom, or at least shorten jail terms, in some Chinese prisons. According to the respected paper Southern Weekend, Zhang’s lawyer bribed the deputy warden at the detention center where he was being held in southern Guangdong province, giving him about $5,000 in exchange for information that would help solve another case. The deputy warden then transferred the implicated prisoner to Zhang’s cell, so that Zhang would have a pretext to report the information himself. After Zhang tattled on his cellmate, the courts reduced Zhang’s 15-year sentence to 10 years. On two other occasions, Zhang’s “good behavior” led to further reductions first to eight years, then to six.
Read the lot. I think the 'Chinese characteristic' here is the transformation of what in other countries would be a basic act of corruption - money provided/services rendered - into a complex information brokerage market using the full range of incentives made available by the relevant institution. I can imagine something like this happening in Italy, but nowhere else outside China.