Students riot over China's crackdown on exam cheating
Examiners trapped as crowd of 2,000 pelts school with rocks
Picture: The Province/AFP
]What should have been a hushed scene of 800 Chinese students diligently sitting their university entrance exams erupted into siege warfare after invigilators tried to stop them from cheating.
The relatively small city of Zhongxiang in Hubei province has always performed suspiciously well in China’s notoriously tough “gaokao” exams, winning a disproportionate number of places at the country’s elite universities.
Last year, the city was cautioned by the province’s education department after it discovered 99 identical papers in one subject. Forty five examiners were “harshly criticized” for allowing cheats to prosper. This year, a pilot scheme was introduced to enforce the rules strictly.
When students at the No 3 high school in Zhongxiang arrived to sit their exams this month, they were dismayed to find they would be supervised by 54 randomly selected external invigilators.
The invigilators used metal detectors to relieve students of their mobile phones and secret transmitters, some of them designed to look like pencil erasers. A team of female invigilators was on hand to intimately search female examinees, the Southern Weekend newspaper reported. Outside the school, officials patrolled the area to catch people transmitting answers to the examinees. At least two groups were caught trying to communicate with students from a hotel opposite the school gates.
For the students, and for their parents waiting outside the school, the new rules went too far. As soon as the exams finished, a mob swarmed into the school in protest. “I picked up my son at midday [from his exam]. He started crying. I asked him what was up and he said a teacher had frisked his body and taken his mobile phone from his underwear. I was furious and I asked him if he could identify the teacher. I said we should go back and find him,” one of the fathers, named as Yin, said to the police later.
By late afternoon, the invigilators were trapped in school offices as students pelted the windows with rocks. Outside, more than 2,000 people had gathered to vent their rage, smashing cars and chanting.
Source: The Province
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