Thousands of students say no to pyramid schemes
By Kang Yi (
Updated: 2006-09-27 14:57

Thousands of university students swore an oath to say no to pyramid schemes in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province Tuesday, wrote the Guangdong News Wednesday.

Students from ten universities in Guangzhou assembled on their respective campuses at 9 a.m. Tuesday to sign scrolls pledging to never participate in pyramid schemes.

Students sign their names on a scroll, promising not to participate in pyramid schemes. []

Pyramid schemes, also known as multi-level marketing, were introduced to China a decade ago.

Many university students have fallen prey to pyramid sales schemes traps after being falsely led to believe there would be high returns.

Illegal pyramid sales organizations whitewash themselves as legal businesses by having their own products like cosmetics or health products, which are of low quality and provide no after-sales service.

According to the descriptions of the 14 victims, they paid on average 3,000 yuan (US$380) in membership fees in order to access goods to sell that were nowhere near the quality they were led to believe in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province.

In order to make up for their losses, some students persuaded their friends and classmates into joining the scheme, while others tried to quit but were illegally detained by their mentors.

"I was under surveillance 24 hours a day in their house, and was even watched when I went to the toilet," Shu Tianbing, an undergraduate told the Information Times in another report after he was rescued by the police earlier this year.

Shu's family paid 3000 yuan (US$380) for his freedom, but Shu was still under his mentor's control, was mistreated and forced to persuade five others into joining as a freedom trade-off.

A one-year nationwide raid intended to topple pyramid schemes was jointly launched by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Public Security this month, according to Xinhua's report September 20.

The crackdown will focus on the protection of student's rights and bring those guilty of illegal pyramid scheme recruitment and detention to justice.