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Intermediary Agency Punished for Illegal Service
An intermediary institution for self-funded overseas study in Northeast China's Liaoning Province has been punished for illegal activities.

An announcement by the Ministry of Education said the Tiancheng Culture and Education Development Co Ltd illegally sent Chinese students to foreign schools with poor conditions, leaving the students and their families counting the cost of heavy losses.

The announcement reiterated that the management of intermediary institutions for self-funded overseas study in the country will be strengthened, and any organizers of illegal intermediaries will be punished severely.

In April 2001, the company did not sign direct contracts with relevant schools in Greece before entrusting a person from a Greek educational organization to be its agent for overseas study in the Mediterranean nation.

In July, 17 Chinese students were introduced by the company to study in Greece.

But on arrival in Greece, the students were sent to learn English at a school located on a mountain more than 50 kilometers away from the capital, Athens.

There were only two teachers and two classrooms that were only 20 square meters in size with only one television in the school. The school also lacked other necessary teaching equipment.

The students said the situation at the school was very different from the description offered by the company before they went to Greece.

One student surnamed Chen complained to the school many times and was later expelled. When Chen's visa expired, the school accused him of being an illegal immigrant and inclined to become violent. Chen was later detained by Greek police.

On November 18, Chen returned home with the help of the Chinese Embassy in Greece, which also helped the other 16 students to find alternative places in Greek universities such as the Master University.

The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly issued regulations on the management of intermediary agent for self-funded overseas study last November.

There are currently 246 officially certificated intermediate institutions on the Chinese mainland. It is said that millions of Chinese students dream of studying abroad.

(China Daily January 29, 2003)

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