China fact of the day

A recent survey of 180 PhD holders found that 60 percent had paid to have their papers published and a similar percentage had copied others’ work.

Here is the link, and thanks to Yan Li for the pointer.


One more reason why one needs a written contract when doing business in China.

Reminds me of this case (and amusing comment thread), from Pakistan.

My sister in law lives not far from the (in)famous "New Oriental School" in Shanghai where students go for test drilling for TOEFL/GRE/GMAT and other admissions-office acronyms. The school is famous for simply getting students to memorize answers and does endless, repetitive drill on a sort of pattern-match approach to "see question, here's answer". The place has such a high reputation for churning out score-maxers that some Chinese American kids go there these days to get ready for their own exams; I've heard they're offering SAT prep nowadays...

If nothing else, the school shows that any test can be studied for and gamed, and that any test that becomes profoundly important will attract someone who'll figure out how to game it.


This shows that the TOEFL and other English exams can be gamed. I've not seen evidence other than outright cheating that the math exam can be gamed. In fact, Chinese who do well on the math exam do perform well in mathematical classes in the US. Thus it's not accurate to talk about them gaming the math exam.

I think it's true that there are cultural differences that make plagiarism far more acceptable to the Chinese. When I taught at a university in Hong Kong, I spent a lot of time trying to explain plagiarism and why they shouldn't do it, and they found the whole concept of 'not copying' difficult to grasp. I figured that it was the Confucian ideology (young people should learn from the wise and should not question) combined with the fact that a huge proportion of their education, from an early age, involved memorizing the many Chinese characters that they needed to know in order to be able to read and write. Plus of course, under the Communists, there was a natural selection process that tended to weed out those that thought for themselves.

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