Chinese Student Busted After Faking Tsinghua Admission Letter

By Shumin Tan, August 21, 2020

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A high school graduate in Guangdong province ran away from home after he was caught faking an admission letter to Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

Cao, an 18-year-old who grew up in the small town of Tiaofeng in Zhanjiang city, scored 235 out of 750 points on the national college entrance exam, known as the gaokao

Despite the low score, Cao told his family he scored well above 700 points, local newspaper Nanfang Daily reported, as cited by China Daily.

In maintaining the facade of his superb performance, Cao convinced his family by doctoring an admission letter from China’s renowned Tsinghua University, which stated that he was ‘admitted’ for an artificial intelligence degree. 

READ MORE: Want to Major in AI? You'll Soon Be Able to at 35 Chinese Universities

Cao received praise and well wishes from his family and neighbors, while the whole village collectively celebrated the news with fireworks and banners.

The tipping point of Cao’s charade occurred when neighbors slowly identified several flaws in the letter, such as the misuse of Chinese characters. 

Cao’s father eventually asked his son to show his real gaokao score.

“I don’t understand why he has lied to us. It’s not like him to do something like that,” Cao’s father said. “After we found out the truth, he did not sleep well for days. He ran away from the house and said he would give up on further education.”

Meanwhile, the student had visited a relative in Zhongshan city, expressing deep sorrow and regret for what he had done, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

The incident went viral on social media as many netizens expressed their criticisms and concerns. Some condemned the boy for lying about his gaokao score, while others questioned how his parents had not realized sooner. A few netizens wondered if the student had violated any laws.

The local public security bureau had clarified to China News Service that the student’s actions will not be deemed as a crime as he only forged an admission letter to impress others. However, a verbal warning will be issued, and police will further investigate the fabrication of the document, punishing those responsible in accordance with the law.

Tiaofeng’s party chief, Huang Zuteng, said Cao and his parents were under a lot of pressure after the incident went viral.

[Image via @清华大学/Weibo]

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