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China cracks down on cheaters

China will scramble mobile phone signals in some exam halls and have police stand guard in a bid to stop cheating, as millions of students take the highly competitive college entrance exams this month, state media said Friday.

Some 9.5 million young people will take the June 7-8 college entrance exams, but only one in four will be eligible for college enrollment, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Chinese government last month said it plans to further restrict enrollment to improve teaching conditions and ease graduate employment pressures.

Last year, some 1,700 students across the country were disciplined for cheating, including 30 who used hidden telecommunications equipment to get answers during the test or who were caught selling exam contents, it said.

Earlier this month, three people were arrested for selling fake exam papers over the Internet for 1,000 yuan a subject, it said.

The government warned the public not to fall for the scam, noting that exam papers are state secrets and those caught leaking them face three to seven years in prison, it said.

The anti-cheating campaign is part of a larger effort to clean up China's academic community amid a spate of high-profile plagiarism and fake research cases.

Some provinces were planning to use devices that would block mobile phone signals in exam halls, though the Education Ministry warned that if such equipment was being used it should be proved safe to humans.

"Those, who intend to use mobile phone shielding devices, must show relevant report to prove the devices they are using will do no harm to people physically," Xinhua quoted Lin Huiqing, a ministry official, as saying.

Xinhua said that police would be standing guard at exam halls to "ensure smooth operation of the exams," and that students would be required to sign documents promising not to cheat.

China has suffered a series of scandals in recent months involving academics who were caught lying about their credentials or faking research.

Last month, a dean at Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of China's top science schools, was dismissed after investigators found he faked research on what state media had hailed as a breakthrough new computer chip.

In April, another Shanghai university dismissed a scientist who it said lied about his academic record. Similar accusations led to the firing of a professor at elite Tsinghua University in Beijing in March.

The scandals have been especially embarrassing to communist leaders at a time when they are promising to spend more on scientific research in hopes of developing profitable technologies.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Posted in: News by NewsBot on June 4, 2006 @ 12:00 AM

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