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Trending in China: 16 Years On, Outrage as College Imposter Exposed

By Yilin Chen / Jun 15, 2020 08:41 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

Sixteen years ago, Chen Chunxiu, a woman from a village in Shandong province, gave up her dream of a college education after taking the national entrance exam but failing to receive an admission letter. Recently, she discovered that she had, in fact, been admitted to Shandong University of Technology (SDUT), but that an imposter had stolen her identity and registered at the university in her place.

What’s the story?

Chen completed her gaokao, or China’s national college entrance exam, in 2004. But after she didn’t hear from any college, she decided to leave her village and look for work. Over the years she has worked in an electronics factory and in restaurants as a waitress, before becoming a kindergarten teacher.

This month, she discovered via an online search that she had in fact been accepted as an international economics and trade major at SDUT back in 2004. An imposter from the same county had assumed her identity to get her admission letter and enrolled at SDUT. After graduation, the imposter worked as an auditor at a local district office. The imposter’s relatives said her father bought Chen’s student identity from an intermediary agency for 2,000 yuan ($280).

Local authorities and education officials have launched an investigation into the incident. In particular, they have been urged to evaluate possible negligence, abuse of power, and corruption among all parties involved. The imposter has been suspended from her job and her SDUT diploma information has been permanently deleted. Meanwhile, Chen has appealed to authorities have her education resumed. According to Chen, SDUT has rejected her request, citing “a lack of precedent” (Source: Beijing News).

What are people saying online?

The incident has sparked widespread indignation on social media. One person wrote that “What was stolen was not her admissions offer. It was a completely different life that she could have had.”


Other people have reminded officials that Chen’s story is not an isolated incident. “They must fix loopholes in the system so that people with connections and money can’t steal the bright futures of those without,” one user wrote.


Contact editor Heather Mowbray,

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