Page last updated at 06:42 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 07:42 UK

China hi-tech exam cheats jailed

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai

File photo of Chinese parents waiting outside a college entrance exam
Chinese children come under extreme pressure to pass exams

Eight parents and teachers who used hi-tech equipment to help children cheat in Chinese college entrance exams have been sent to prison.

They were given sentences of six months to three years after being found guilty of obtaining state secrets.

Three groups were found operating in just one school in Zhejiang province.

One group of parents, some of them local officials, persuaded a teacher to fax them the questions once the exam got under way.

They had organised six university students to answer them.

They sent these answers using mobile phones to their children in the exam hall who were wearing tiny earpieces.

Mini scanner

Another man had employed more high-tech equipment.

He bribed a student taking the same exam as his son to get him the questions using a miniature scanner.

He had nine teachers on standby to answer them.

He then transmitted the answers back to the two boys taking the exam.

A third scam involved a teacher at the school who had charged hundreds of dollars to get the answers to students but whose equipment failed.

The cheats were discovered when police nearby detected the efforts to transmit the answers to the students on their radios.

In court, one of the fathers involved said they had had high hopes for their children and the exams were vital for them to secure good futures.

This case has become infamous here because of the elaborate means used to try to cheat, but it does not appear to be that unusual.

In recent months it emerged that across China, applicants to join the civil service had cheated using similar methods.

On that occasion one state-run newspaper reminded cheats that in years gone by they would have been put to death.

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