Sellers of cheating equipment arrested

08:45, June 07, 2011      

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A worker installs a camera in an exam room at Ronghuai School in Zhuji, Zhejiang province, last week ahead of the national college entrance examination that takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Guo Bin / for China Daily

Sixty-two people have been detained for selling electronic cheating equipment and counterfeit exam documents in the run-up to the national college entrance examination, the Ministry of Education announced.

Police and educational bureaus across the country have recently handled 45 cheating-related cases and cracked down on illegal sales of devices such as wireless headphones and two-way radios that allow people to cheat on exams, the ministry said.

On Saturday, two suspects, a father-and-son duo surnamed Qian, were detained on criminal charges in Xiamen, Fujian province, for advertising the sale of electronic cheating equipment and counterfeit exam documents. They confessed having made tens of thousands of yuan from dozens of customers.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, more than 9.3 million students will sit the national college entrance examination, the world's largest standardized test. About 6.75 million will be admitted into college, with the enrolment rate up 4 percentage points year-on-year to surpass 72 percent, according to the ministry.

However, a string of cheating scandals involving high-tech devices in past years have cast a shadow over the test's principle of fairness in giving students an equal chance to attend university.

In 2009, teachers in Songyuan, Jilin province, were found selling wireless devices to students, which sparked intense public outrage.

In 2010, about one out of every 5,000 examinees was found to have cheated, according to the ministry.

The ministry vowed on Friday to exercise an "iron hand and zero tolerance" on cheating during the annual tests, and ordered local bureaus to hand out severe punishments if violations are discovered.

Examinees found cheating will be disqualified from this year's exam and will be prohibited from signing up for next year's.

Xu Xilong, a lawyer in Beijing, speculated that suspects facing criminal charges for selling electronic cheating devices could face up to 15 years in prison in the worst-case scenario.

But he conceded that the final ruling depends on judicial authorities' judgment about the gravity of the offences.

Gao Xinmin, a resident in Beijing's Haidian district, whose 17-year-old daughter will take the exams next year, said he holds high hopes for his daughter, but cheating is out of the question.

"The artificial high scores made by cheating cannot last for long. And it is very unfair for other students," he said.

Nie Chuanbo, the head of a training school in Haikou, capital of Hainan province, said the idea of telling his students to cheat never crossed his mind, and he had not heard such cases happening in Hainan.

"The exams provide a fair chance to all students in a merit-based system. As teachers, our role is to help them to learn effectively and prepare them for the tests," Nie said.

Source:China Daily
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