Revelations of "underground cheating industry" after China's college entrance exam

21:31, June 09, 2010      

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Revelations of an underground industry selling cheating devices and services loomed large in the news as the national college entrance exam ended Wednesday.

The prospect of gaining a diploma from a top university thus guaranteeing a decent job, tempted some to cheat despite tightened inspections -- creating a lucrative market for sales of cheating devices.

Seven students in northwest Gansu Province were found to have used high-tech devices to cheat in the national college entrance exam held Monday and Tuesday.

The exam papers of students caught cheating were given zero marks and police had detained three people who allegedly sold the devices to them, said a spokesman with the education bureau of Jingyuan County in Gansu.

The supervisors found wireless earphones as well as rulers and wristwatch-like receiving devices on the students, who were caught in three exam rooms in Jingyuan County Monday and Tuesday, said the spokesman.

In a separate case in central China's Hubei Province, police detained four people who sold wireless communication equipment on June 4 to help students cheat in the exam.

The police confiscated 11 sets of devices worth more than 100,000 yuan (14,640 U.S. dollars), according to the public security bureau of Honghu City.

The suspects allegedly charged a 2,000-yuan deposit for each set. After the examination, the buyers would have to pay another 5,000 yuan, bringing the end cost to around 1,000 U.S. dollars per set.

In southwest China's Guizhou Province, 11 people have been detained for involvement in a college entrance exam cheating scheme.

They were captured in a hotel of the remote Songtao County along with more than 60 transmitters and three laptops on Sunday, a day before the exam, said Zhou Baoying, head of Guizhou's exam and recruitment center.

The eleven are believed to have attempted to transmit answers to test takers from hotel rooms. They allegedly sold at least 10 cheating devices to test takers in the province's Yinjiang, Sinan, Songtao counties and Zunyi City.

After breaking the ring, the education authorities sent more inspectors to Songtao to step up measures to stop cheating, Zhou said.

More than 226,000 students took the exam on June 7-8 in Guizhou.

Some students were found trying to bring cheating devices into exam venues, Zhou said.

"They were stopped. No cheating was found during the exam, hence no students were penalized."

However, the China Youth Daily reported rampant cheating in Songtao Wednesday, quoting students who claimed to have cheated.

Zhou said the report was unfounded but admitted it was possible that some cheating may have gone unnoticed.

"We did take very strict steps though we cannot guarantee no one cheated."

Previous reports said at least 58 people from eastern Fujian Province and Gansu had been arrested for selling cheating devices.

The annual two-day exam, or "gaokao" in Chinese, is the only opportunity for high school students to win a place at university, making it the most important test most will ever sit in their lives.

More than 9.57 million people sat this year's exam and about 6.57 million will be enrolled at the nation's universities.

China's Ministry of Education is yet to give the number of students who were found cheating.

In the 2009 national college entrance exam, 2,219 students, or 0.023 percent of the 10.2 million college entrance exam sitters in China were found to have cheated, official statistics show.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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