China’s national higher education entrance exams began on Tuesday with examination invigilators adopting strong measures against cheating. This year’s exams will be the first to take place after strict legal reforms were rolled out in 2015 to tackle dishonest practices.

According to a legal amendment by the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, any organisation that offers to fraudulently attend university entrance exams in place of a student can receive a maximum of seven years in prison. The practice of hiring an individual to attend exam in place of oneself is not uncommon in China.

China’s Ministry of Education said that that over ten cases of attempted cheating have been uncovered this year, with 170 people involved in related crimes apprehended. Over 6,000 exam questions had to be altered after they were leaked to the public, reported Apple Daily.

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An exam invigilator holding a radio wave detector. Photo:

Provinces such as Hubei and Guangdong have strengthened security measures to prevent cheating, requiring students to go through a fingerprint and facial recognition system.

Some universities are enforcing strict regulations to prevent university students from taking exams for younger students. In Ningxia province, some universities monitored where the students were travelling to-and-from during the examination period, while some in Shandong province forbade students from taking days off during the period.

Meanwhile, in Anhui and Henan province, students are required to go through metal detectors to see if they are carrying devices that may assist cheating.

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Chinese woman cleaning surveillance camera. Photo: China Youth Network.

Students have increasingly turned to miniaturised gadgets to communicate during tests, according to Apple Daily. As countermeasure, universities in Jiangxi province and Chongqing city have mobilised devices that disrupt telecommunication during the exams.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.