Monday, 19 January, 2009

Cheaters use spy gear on China's civil service exam

January 20
SHANGHAI (AFP) — More than 1,000 applicants were caught cheating on China's civil servant exams, with some using spy technology such as micro-earpieces and wireless transmitters, state media reported Monday.

More than 300 were caught in the act during the November 30 exam, while about 700 others were deemed to have cheated because their papers "shared much conformity," the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The State Bureau of Civil Servants' announcement that a record number of cheaters were caught highlights the difficulties for China's ruling Communist Party in stamping out rampant corruption among its ranks.

"We can hardly trust these people to cheat only on exams. What if they cheat in the exercise of public power once they are put in a public position?" the English-language China Daily wrote in an editorial on Monday.

"Such dishonesty in exams raises suspicions about their motivations to get access to public power."

Most of the cheaters were caught in the capital, Beijing, and in the northeastern province of Liaoning, Xinhua reported.

More than half used technology provided by illegal organisations that provided answers in exchange for money, the newspaper said.

Some high-tech cheaters used carefully disguised wireless transmitters to obtain answers, while others received radio signals through tiny earpieces, Xinhua cited the bureau as saying.

In a country where the civil service is very strong and the communist authorities maintain firm rule, a position in the public sector is synonymous with power.

Demand for work in the public sector is particularly strong this year as it remains a haven of stability at a time when millions of workers across China face being laid off amid the global economic crisis.

A record 775,000 people took the exam to compete for 13,500 national civil servant jobs -- 57 people for every available position.

Cheaters would be disqualified from the exam, and in serious cases be barred from retaking civil servant exams for the next five years, Xinhua reported.

However, the China Daily wrote that offenders deserved the "severest punishment" and reminded readers that in ancient times imperial exam cheats were executed.

"Both designers of the exam system and emperors, who were the top leaders of the government, knew how dangerous it could be to put power in the hands of a corrupt, immoral person," the paper wrote.


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