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Name and shame all those exam cheaters and their parents
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For once the highest score in the all-important national college entrance test does not bring honor, but disgrace, dismissals, and tears.

It is reported that He Chuanyang earned the highest score in Chongqing Municipality during the national college entrance examination this year, but he was rejected by Peking University last Thursday for faking ethnic minority status to win additional points.

One day later, he suffered another blow after being rejected by the University of Hong Kong.

The winner of the highest score may end up receiving no admission letter from any university this year.

On hearing the rejection, he locked himself up in his room and cried.

He was found to be one of the 31 students involved in the ethnicity cheating scandal in Chongqing and the investigative process followed tip-offs from a Netizen.

According to a circular from local authorities Tuesday evening, the full list of the 31 offenders would not be announced, because though all the 31 had been disqualified for enrollment they still are protected as minors.

The star student has paid dearly for the mistake.

Three years ago He's parents, both powerful local officials, now disciplined, had their son's ethnicity status changed from Han to Tujia nationality.

In Chongqing, ethnic minorities can get 20 extra points in the matriculation test as preferential treatment.

Some argue that He had been made to pay too much for a mistake that should have been blamed on his parents. Anyway He still holds the highest score even without the additional 20 points, and his academic excellence should constitute an extenuating circumstance, some argue.

This kind of argument is totally unreasonable.

Though it was He's parents who helped fake the ethnicity status, it's hard to believe that He himself had been in the dark all these years.

He might have demonstrated unquestioned academic excellence, but flunked the moral test spectacularly.

If He can sacrifice his honesty for an extra 20 points, which he does not actually need, we have good reasons to doubt his competence in resisting the myriad other temptations he is sure to encounter later in life.

He may trade his integrity for power, money and women, and it is obvious that an unscrupulously self-serving He will become doubly dangerous when he is powerful.

Ethics and morality are always the basic criteria against which to judge the worth of a talent.

According to Sima Guang in his classic Zizhi Tongjian (A Comprehensive Mirror for Aides in Government), talent can be classify into four categories, in order of descending merit: those moral and talented, those moral but lacking talent, those lacking both morality and talent, and those immoral but talented.

It's hard to imagine how a young man with expertise but lacking a moral compass would benefit our society.

Therefore Peking University has made a correct decision in refusing He admission to one of the most prestigious universities in China.

In an educational system that overemphasizes scores, high scorers like He are as a rule automatically courted by all top universities.

We have good reason to believe that if He is allowed to get away with this on account of his high scores, his example will encourage, instead of deter, future offenders.

He's father's position as the head of Wushan County's admissions office also made this issue doubly scandalous.

The father's official duty was to ensure that the national college entrance examination in that region be conducted in a fair manner, but apparently he had abused his authority for his son.

Local government's decision not to make known the full list of offenders involved in the fake ethnicity scandal is beyond all comprehension.

Although the test candidates are minors it is easy to see that the real culprits are their powerful parents.

(Shanghai Daily July 9, 2009)

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