This study fills a void in the piracy literature by describing the results of a qualitative investigation of buyers conducted in mainland China, one of the largest piracy markets in the world. Chinese college students, invited to write essays expressing their views, revealed themselves to be active buyers of fake music and movies, untroubled by any legal or ethical issues. Theories of cognitive dissonance and neoclassical economics are used to explain the behavior of buyers. A surprising result is the feeling of young Chinese that their government is unwilling and/or able to control piracy. Another insight not previously revealed in the literature is the Chinese essayists' condemnation of foreigners as hypocrites who preach against piracy while avidly buying fake goods themselves. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.