An online post by Gou Jing, from a rural area in Jining, East China's Shandong Province, claiming that she was replaced by another person for university 23 years ago has triggered widespread public concern.
Chinese netizens urged local authorities to find out the truth and called for the punishment of those who violated the fairness of college entrance examinations.
The local government in Jining has established an investigation group and contacted Gou Jing to deal with the case. The results of the survey will be released to the public in a timely manner, as it announced on its public Sina Weibo account on Wednesday.
The college entrance examination is fundamental to ensuring social justice and mobility, which is deemed as the most important opportunity for students to achieve their dreams and even change their destinies, especially for students from poor families in rural areas, like Gou Jing. Although the case is still under investigation, Gou Jing's experience attracted attention and caused outrage online.
"If the content of the victim's post is true, the people involved must pay a heavy price! This is not simply trampling on the fairness of the college entrance examination system, but deeply destroying the simplest dream of a girl born in a farmer's family. If people ignore this, how can society achieve smooth class mobility?" the People's Daily commented in a short review named "Don't snuff out the hopes of rural students" on Thursday.
Gou Jing has revealed that she was replaced by her head teacher's daughter for a college in Beijing in 1997. She attended the college entrance examination in 1998 but failed again in enrolling at a university, even though her score was generally good.
Qiu, Gou's teacher, sent her an apology letter in 2003 for stealing Gou's college enrollment, as Gou said in the online post.
After the case caused widespread public attention, Qiu went to Gou's family in his hometown with gifts and 10,000 yuan ($1,413). After being rejected for reconciliation, he went to Gou's residence in East China's Zhejiang Province, more than 700 kilometers away from Shandong, with several strong men and Gou rejected to see him, news portal the Beijing News reported.
"By no means does Qiu sincerely apologize and admit his mistake. Whether the apology letter in 2003 or reconciliation now, it is an act of evading legal responsibility. To visit with strong men is designed to threaten someone," a Sina Weibo user commented.
According to media reports, universities and colleges in Shandong Province have found 242 people suspected of being impostors from 2002 to 2009.
It is impossible for a head teacher to complete the series of operations required for a replacement of a college entrance exam by themselves, which involves a series of procedures such as student status, household registration, archival allocation and so on. It's difficult to complete such a process without collaboration from many parties, the Beijing News commented on Friday.
"For a rural girl, to be stolen a college enrollment is to miss out on the most important opportunity for class mobility. If the student file was allocated with the head teacher's daughter in 1997, Gou was unable to sign up for the college entrance examination in 1998 under normal regulations. Criminal acts regarding college entrance examinations must be severely punished," another Weibo post read.