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Test cheaters must be brought to justice

China Daily, June 20, 2014 Adjust font size:

To what extent the fairness of the national college entrance examinations has been undermined is a question that needs to be answered, when more than 100 college entrance examinees in Central China's Henan province have been found to have hired substitutes to sit the just concluded exams for them.

The case is under investigation and it is yet to be revealed how many people were involved. There could be many, including the families of examinees, those who helped find the substitutes, those who lubricated the channels with bribes for the proctors and those who took a bribe, as well as those who turned a blind eye to the cheating.

What is even more shocking is the revelation that providing such substitutes for candidates has become a business, with the entire process, from hiring substitutes, sending the substitutes to the exam venues and making sure they get safely out of the exams, taken care of.

It is obvious that the investigation needs to find out all the details of how such organized cheating can occur and whether the same kind of cheating takes place in other places. It should also find out whether local education authorities know about the cheating but choose to turn a blind eye to it in the hope that it will help send more local candidates to prestigious universities.

What is even more worrying is the fact that many, including those substitutes who were fresh students in universities, have no compunction about taking advantage of the loopholes in the system and will even crack open loopholes with money for the sake of making money, as well as the fact that parents must be involved in hiring people to sit the exams for their sons or daughters.

There is no knowing how many have previously cheated their way into prestigious universities and how many did it without being caught this year. If so, it is quite likely that their successful cheating will let them take it for granted that the ends will always justify the means. They will also take it for granted that money makes the mare go.

In this sense, it is not just a matter of fairness only. It is also a matter of bringing to justice those who are challenging the moral and ethical foundations of society.


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