Students at Dongmeng High School in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, prepare for the gaokao. (Photo by Yu Xiangquan/For chinadaily.com.cn)
Public security and education authorities said on Monday that they will show no tolerance for any exam-related crimes, to ensure the security and smooth operation of the upcoming annual college entrance exam, or gaokao, and the legitimate rights and interests of those taking the test.
The exam, which a record 12.91 million participants have signed up for this year, is set for Wednesday through Saturday nationwide, though the specific days will vary by provincial-level region. It is one of the most important exams for Chinese students, as the scores will largely determine which university they can attend and, by consequence, their future career.
The Ministry of Public Security has taken strict measures against illegal activities related to testing, as well as against anyone who organizes cheating during the exam or produces or sells communication or recording equipment for use during the test.
Police in several cities have investigated a number of recent cases of organized cheating and fraud related to exams, according to the ministry.
Activities such as organized cheating, providing test takers with exam questions and answers, replacing candidates in the examinations and selling or using cheating equipment are a serious danger to the security of national education examinations, infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of candidates and violate laws, the ministry said.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Education described several typical cases that occurred in previous years, to remind exam takers to be honest in the upcoming exam and to avoid being the victim of fraudulent activities during preparations for the exam.
In one case, before the 2020 gaokao, a test taker surnamed Zhu colluded with a man surnamed Wen to cheat during the exam. Zhu was to provide the test questions, and Wen was responsible for locating paid, previous test-takers who were off-site.
During the exam, Zhu brought his mobile phone into the exam site, took pictures of the questions and sent them to the off-site accomplices, who then sent the answers back.
All participants in the cheating scheme were found and arrested. Zhu was sentenced to three years in prison, with five years' probation, and fined 6,000 yuan ($840) for organizing exam cheating.
The Ministry of Education also warned test takers and their parents not to trust the advertisements of training institutions that claim their lessons were provided by exam experts or promise that students who enlist their help will pass the exams.
The ministry said that papers related to the college entrance examination are kept secret, and their custody and delivery are strictly managed. No training institutions have access to the test papers or can ensure that a test taker will pass the exam, so students as well as parents should avoid being deceived, it said.
The ministry also recently released phone numbers for reporting problems or illegal activities related to the 2023 examination. It promised immediate attention to and timely handling of problems, in order to safeguard the fairness of the exam.
In addition, colleges and universities in several cities have issued circulars with measures to prevent college students from being paid to take the tests.