In China, the almost 10 million high school graduates taking college entrance exams every year experience a tremendous amount of pressure and stress. The stakes are high, as the difference between not having a university degree and having one can change one's life. Given only one chance to pass or fail, some students resort to cheating, often figuring out ingenious ways to deceive the watchful eyes of authority. But after November 1, any student trying to cheat risks a punishment so severe that they might as well just study as hard as they can.

As if there wasn't enough pressure already, college-bound Chinese kids now have something else to worry about. Starting November 1, any student caught cheating will face a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison. According to, an amendment to section 284 of the Chinese Criminal Law Code comes into effect on that date, turning a desperate peek at your neighbor's exam answers into a punishable criminal act. Even if you don't actually cheat, plotting to do so can get you a three-year sentence. The severe cheaters, the best of the best, will get the maximum seven years.

The reason the government decided to crack down was because of recent incidents involving students hiring professionals to take tests in their place, cheating on all-too-important pharmaceutical exams, and even using tactics usually reserved for spies and secret agents. Some provinces have already resorted to using drones during exams to scope out the dangerous criminals. 

There's no doubt that the exams in China are extremely difficult. But in all honesty, it's probably easier and less time consuming to just hit the books rather than to spend hours assembling a tiny gadget so you can sneak in a few answers. Besides, no matter what the outcome, at least you don't have to go to prison.

Cheating device confiscated from a cheater

Passing security

Drones are watching

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