Organizers of exam cheating will face greater punishments
Those arranging deceit of more than 30 people could get 3 to 7 years of prison time
People who organize exam cheating or offer high-tech equipment to test takers in order to cheat will face heavier penalties beginning Wednesday in accordance with a newly released judicial interpretation.
"Exam cheating has been a big problem that has occurred frequently across the country in recent years, which has not only disturbed the order and fairness of testing but has also seriously harmed social honesty," said Jiang Qibo, head of the Research Department at the Supreme People's Court.
To effectively solve the problem, a new crime of organizing exam cheating or offering equipment for cheating was added to the Chinese Criminal Law that came into effect in 2015.
As of July, Chinese courts heard 1,734 criminal cases and punished 3,724 defendants for exam cheating. Of these cases, 951 involving 2,251 people dealt with organizing exam cheating, according to the court.
Last year, for example, Beijing Haidian District People's Court sentenced six people to prison terms ranging from 20 months to four years for using high-tech equipment to provide answers for 33 students during the 2017 national postgraduate entrance exam.
"But what equipment should be defined as cheating devices or in which situation a defendant should be heavily sentenced are still not clear in legal practice," Jiang said.
The judicial interpretation, issued by the SPC and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Tuesday, for the first time clarifies that cases involving cheating in major national-level education, qualification or hiring tests - including the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, as well as the postgraduate entrance exam and civil servant exam - should be identified as "serious" crimes.
Moreover, those who organize 30 or more people to cheat on an exam, who provide more than 50 cheating devices or who gain more than 300,000 yuan ($42,000) as a result of the cheating efforts should be identified as "serious" offenders, it added.
This means organizers will face prison sentences ranging from three to seven years, the interpretation said. Cheating equipment - such as tiny cameras and listening devices - that evade security checks and help gain, record, convey, receive or store content related to the exams are covered under the interpretation.
Xian Jie, deputy head of the SPP's law and policy research department, said the more practical the interpretation is, the more accurately judicial authorities can fight the crime, especially in an era in which high-tech equipment is developing fast.
"Considering the huge profits gained by cheating organizers, we'll also order defendants to pay more fines," Jiang added.
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