Authorities urged to take action on fake universities that continue to proliferate

By Xinhua – Global Times Source:Xinhua – Global Times Published: 2016-5-24 20:08:01

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Ahead of this year's national college entrance examinations, which falls on June 7 and 8,, a website that provides guidance to students applying to Chinese universities, has revealed another 73 fake universities. Such schools typically include "Beijing," "China" or "Capital" in their names in an attempt to fool applicants into thinking they are more prestigious schools.

Among the 73 fake universities in 16 provinces and regions, 23 are located in Beijing and seven are in Shanghai. Moreover, 66 of them are not registered with the Ministry of Education (MOE) while six registered using the former names of legitimate universities. 

Since 2013, the website has exposed over 400 fake universities. Research conducted by the Xinhua News Agency found that most of the fake universities' websites have shut down since being revealed. However, there has been no slowdown in the number of fake universities being set up in the past year due to the huge profits on offer and weak supervision.

Wrong answers

The Xinhua reporter tried to call a dozen fake universities with "Beijing" in their names, but her calls were not connected or kept busy. On many of their websites they claimed to be located in suburban Beijing but unsurprisingly many of these addresses were found to have been faked. For example, the "Beijing Technology and Normal University" claimed on its website that it is in Beijing's Yanjing Economic Development Zone. However, there is no such economic development zone in the capital.

The "Beijing Architecture Engineer College" said on its website that the school was established under the approval of the Beijing Municipal Education Committee, that it focuses on high-level education and training international labor forces. It says it has cultivated over 16,500 professional talents and is equipped with rich teaching resources and comprehensive facilities.

However,the fake university had simply used the former name of the prestigious Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the news releases and pictures on its website were reproductions of literature produced by the real school.

Learning the tricks

To better deceive students, many fake universities set up sections on their websites that allow students to look up their academic records as "proof" of their achievement.

Shen Jiangping,'s former chief content officer, said that fraudsters usually fake a platform similar to the China Higher-education Student Information (CHSI) website (the site is run by the Ministry of Education to verify college admissions and student records) and input students' personal information onto the platform so that when users look up their degrees their minds will be put at rest.

Net user "Dong Dong" from Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province said that he spent over 10,000 yuan ($1,530) to get a bachelor's degree through an online program provided by the "Shanghai Engineering Management School" and that the school claimed that his certificate could be looked up on its website. However, he found that he could not find his certificate number on the official CHSI website.

Authorities failing the test

Shen said that fake universities have faced pressure in recent years along with the MOE's dissemination of standard schools, blocks on fake school's websites and wide media coverage. However, due to the low cost of registering a domain name and faking IP addresses, fraudulent universities are still multiplying.

Moreover, the fact that supervision from the authorities is still insufficient has made the situation worse.

According to the Xinhua report, the education authorities in many cities said that the fake universities count as telecom fraud and are therefore outside their jurisdiction. However, public security bureaus said that it is hard for them to investigate the schools if no one files a report about them.

An Beijing education official said on Friday that they will cooperate with police to launch investigations into fake schools.

Experts have suggested that the education authorities could offer domains to legitimate institutions so it is clear which websites are authentic.

Newspaper headline: Degree of dishonesty

Posted in: Society

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