Ghostwriting services coaxing Chinese international students into cheating…

A person writing with a blue pen.

Sally Zhang* recently bought an essay from a ghostwriter for the first time — not because she struggles to write, but rather so she could enjoy an early holiday.

Key points:

  • The Government has proposed legislation making it an offence to provide or advertise so-called “contract cheating” services
  • Some students pay hundreds of dollars to have ghostwriters complete their assignments
  • Research shows a global increase in students using contract cheating services in recent years

Ms Zhang, a Chinese international student who is undertaking a postgraduate degree at the University of Western Australia, took up the service on WeChat last month after being bombarded with offers from various ghostwriting agencies under the guise of friend requests.

“[The ghostwriting agencies] send me messages from time to time,” she said.

“They often post ads on their WeChat moments with tempting words like ‘It’s almost the holiday. Throw us your assignments, go and enjoy yourself.”

Ms Zhang told the ABC she paid $600 for a 3,000-word project proposal and is still waiting for her grade.

However, businesses offering such services could soon be made illegal under legislation proposed by the Federal Government earlier this week.

People found guilty under the proposed law — which will make it an offence to provide or advertise so-called “contract cheating” services — could face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $210,000.

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China; Half-Marathon embroiled in cheating scandal, more than 250 bans handed down

More than 250 runners have been caught cheating during the Shenzhen Half-Marathon in China, with organisers handing out hundreds of bans after last weekend’s race.

The majority of the bans were for runners taking shortcuts — 237 people were caught on traffic cameras cutting through bushes — while several other runners were found to be wearing fake bibs.

Organisers said those who took the shortcut would have run up to three kilometres less than the full 21.1km distance.

“We deeply regret the violations that occurred during the event,” Chinese news outlet Xinhua quoted organisers as saying.

“Marathon running is not simply exercise, it is a metaphor for life, and every runner is responsible for him or herself.”

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