A middle school principal has been dismissed and eight other teachers and education officials face dismissal or judicial punishments in eastern China after they colluded in cheating on the national college entrance exam.
Their scheme involved getting university students to sit the exam and then selling their test results to people who failed, changing the candidate identities along the way.
Zhang Hongxue, principal of Chengzhuang Middle School, was removed from his post and stripped of his Party membership, according to the Communist Party of China (CPC) Discipline Inspection Committee of Dangshan County, Anhui Province.
Xu Yunfeng and Zhao Guilian, two recruitment officials with the Dangshan Educational Bureau, have been transferred to judicial departments for taking bribes and failing to fulfill their duties, the committee said.
The committee also suggested the county educational bureau sack four teachers at the school due to their involvement in the scam.
Wei Zhiyu, the bureau's deputy director, was given a serious Party warning.
The committee said it was also investigating two policemen in connection with the scam.
Police in Dangshan said they have taken into custody the four ringleaders. Wang Wenxian, a local farmer, his brother Wang Wenli and an accomplice Fu Xiaokui, were found to have offered 41 college students in Hefei, capital of Anhui, 1,000 yuan each to take the exam.
Students told police that the organizers had promised to pay each student who passed the exam 10,000 yuan in order to sell on their exam certificates to students who had failed to achieve high enough grades to be admitted into university.
The three men gave Sun Feng, a senior student from Anhui University, who has also been arrested, more than 300,000 yuan (US$39,400) to recruit students and bring them to Dangshan County to sit the exam, police said.
Police added that the majority of the students who had agreed to the plan did not travel to Dangshan to attend the exam as they had heard the police had been alerted to the scam.
Six students, five from China Science and Technology University and one from Anhui University, were caught by police in Dangshan a day before the exam took place.
The scam organizers were alleged to have colluded with teachers and recruitment officials in order to provide the university students with fake IDs so they could sit the exam with the final-year senior high school pupils.
Jiang Liancai, director of the Dangshan Educational Bureau, said a total of 12,445 people in the county were registered to attend the exam, but as many as 703 of them did not attend, an absence rate of 5.6 percent, which was double the average rate of 2.7 percent in previous years.
"Some of the absences may be related to the scam," Jiang said, adding that local authorities were checking the 703 absent candidates one by one and would announce the results as soon as possible.
Competition for university places is fierce. Around 9.5 million students in China sat the annual exam in early June this year to compete for 5.67 million university places.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2007)