Riot After Chinese Teachers Try to Stop Pupils Cheating
June is the month all Chinese high school students dread — it’s the month they take the national college entrance exam (the gaokao). Their score will determine the next four years of their lives, and in many ways, the rest of their lives.
In such a high stakes game, cheating has become a way of life. One school in Hubei province had a suspiciously long run of high gaokao scores, so provincial officials investigated. This year, they sent a contingent of exam proctors (or invigilators, if you’re from a Commonwealth nation) who made absolutely sure the students had no electronic devices or other cheating materials on their persons.
The result was a small-scale riot after the examination finished.
“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 protesting fathers, named as Mr Yin, said to the police later.
By late afternoon, the invigilators were trapped in a set of school offices, as groups of students pelted the windows with rocks. Outside, an angry mob of more than 2,000 people had gathered to vent its rage, smashing cars and chanting: “We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.”
According to the protesters, cheating is endemic in China, so being forced to sit the exams without help put their children at a disadvantage.