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Timekeeper jailed after ringing bell early at exam

(Xinhua)

09:48, October 27, 2012

CHANGSHA - A man in central China's Hunan province has received a jail sentence after ringing a bell five minutes too early during a national college entrance exam, disrupting the exam for more than 1,000 students.

Fifty-four-year-old Xiao Yulong, a former employee of the No. 9 High School of Dongkou county, was sentenced to one year in jail with a one-year reprieve for negligence, according to a written statement issued by the county people's court on Friday.

Xiao was confirmed to have rang the bell 4 minutes and 48 seconds early "by mistake" on June 8, causing 1,050 students to hand in their tests before they were required to do so.

Thousands of students and parents have gathered multiple times at the school and local education bureau to demand a response from the government.

Xiao was careless in his work and mistakenly rang the bell too early, resulting in adverse social impact, the statement said.

The national college entrance exam is an extremely important event for Chinese high school students, as it can determine which university they will go to and therefore shape their future career.

About 9.15 million students registered to take the exam in June this year, according to the Ministry of Education.
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