Chinese citizens who cheat in graduate schools — such as those who plagiarize other people’s works — might soon be unable to secure mortgages, use public transport and/or access the internet at faster speeds.
Academic dishonesty, which could lead to a slew of other penalties, will be introduced to the country’s social credit system, a policy that rewards good social behaviors and punishes those deemed otherwise.
“We will make any fraudulent acts involving degree papers part of one’s credit to be included in the national information-sharing platform,” the ministries of education and finance said in a joint document with the National Development and Reform Commission, according to The Times.
China started regional trials of its social credit system more than a decade ago. Its full implementation is expected by the end of 2020.
Alongside national rules, local governments can impose their own schemes. Guangzhou, for instance, started penalizing cheaters in August 2019, according to Business Insider.
The social credit system covered some 1.02 billion people at the end of 2019, according to the South China Morning Post. With a current population of 1.4 billion, China appears close to nationwide implementation.
Blacklisted individuals had been denied a total of 26.82 million plane tickets and 5.96 million high-speed rail tickets by June 2019, according to Xinhua. They have allegedly committed some form of “dishonesty.”
The joint document publicized on Tuesday proposed the continuous development of postgraduate education, focusing on major national strategies, key areas and social needs. It also called to expand the scale of random inspections of dissertations, as well as improve the quality of such inspections.
How exactly the Chinese government plans to rule “cheating” is yet to be seen. Regardless, anyone convicted will likely suffer a blow in their social credit score and undergo punitive measures as outlined in the system.
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