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High-tech cheats mar college entrance exam
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-15 22:23

Charged with stealing State secrets, five suspects, believed to be involved in plagiarism during the recent national college entrance examination, were detained by police in Central China's Henan Province on Monday.

A sophomore from a college in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China's Gansu Province, was also arrested.

Xinhua News Agency reported the suspects have been accused of stealing State secrets, referring to the theft of exam questions from testing sites during.

According to police sources from Zhenping County in Henan, the five persons, including some middle school students and jobless juveniles, later sold answers to exam questions to test-takers.

Several cell phones and other equipment that were used for transmitting answers were confiscated by authorities as evidence. They were found at the home of Shao Jiang, one of the suspects believed to have played a leading role in the cheating scam.

Earlier this month, some students taking the national exam in Zhenping were caught receiving answers sent to them through cell phones.

The public security department there received a tip indicating that some people were making money by using the Internet and telecommunications to provide answers during the exam. An investigation was launched.

The national entrance exam,held from June 7 to 9, is an important turning point for many. If a student receives high enough scores, he or she can be admitted into a prestigious university, which will be a vitally important stepping stone for his or her future career.

According to the Beijing News, two of the five suspects succeeded in arranging for others to enter the exam site, sit there as exam takers and leave the exam room with questions before the testing was over.

A group of senior middle students waited outside, ready to quickly work out answers to the questions. The answers were then sent back to other exam-sitters' cell phones hooked up to the Internet.

Each copy of such answers was reportedly priced up to 1,000 yuan (US$120). A student's parent was quoted as saying that the answers were not totally accurate.

The investigations is still under way in Zhenping, where some 4,400 students took part in the exam in 150 exam rooms.

According to local education officials, modern technology has turned out to be a huge advantage for students who choose to cheat in the exams, though old-fashioned crib notes are not exactly extinct.In a survey conducted among college students at a university in East China's Zhejiang Province,half of the 900 respondents said they have cheated on exams at least once.

Eighteen per cent of the cheaters who had not been caught said that "If I'm not found out, I'll do it again."

Experts say proctors at exam sites should be more wary of exam takers to stop high-tech cheats.

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