Three years ago in a desperate attempt Chris (pseudonym) who was a student at a Chinese university hired a local Chinese student to write his paper for him.
"I don't like cheating in academics and I don't like people using such services either but I just had to use the service that one time" Chris said.
Some foreign students in China cheat during their academic careers. One way they do this is by hiring someone to write their papers. Chris who is now completing a master's degree at one of the most prestigious universities in China is one of them.
According to Chris' knowledge some of his foreign classmates in China will pay someone or ask their close Chinese friends to write essays for them.
"Most of them are from science Chinese language or literature majors. Subjects like science are very complicated and students studying language or literature are required to write all of their papers in Chinese which is really challenging for some students" he said.
A necessary choice?
It was 2014 his third year of studying for his bachelor's degree. He was taking an elective course in Chinese poetry and the students were required to write a 3000-word Chinese essay on Chinese poetry in order to pass the course.
Chris did not hire someone to write his paper right from the start. He tried to write the paper himself two times but the professor was not satisfied and Chris succumbed to the desperate measure.
"I chose to hire someone to write my essay because I couldn't write according to what the professor required" Chris said.
In the beginning he wrote an essay about the evolution of Chinese poetry and showed it to his Chinese professor for uation and suggestions before the submission deadline. His professor told him that no one likes a paper about evolution and the part pertaining to political history in his essay was irrelevant to the subject.
The professor asked Chris to choose a different subject and write something else.
Chris spent days on a new paper sent it to the professor and the professor said that the new paper still did not fit the requirements.
"I had already spent weeks on those papers and it was the end of the semester. I had all my other essays to write and exams to prepare for so I did not want to spend any more time on this elective course" Chris said.
"It was my last resort at that point because I didn't want to lose any credits or retake that course; I was desperately looking for solutions" he said.
Then he talked to some of his friends about the problem he was facing and one of his friends suggested that he should hire someone to write the essay.
"According to my friend it doesn't cost as much as the money I would have to spend if I fail the class and have to pay to retake it" he said.
"At last I asked for details of a girl who writes papers for money. I contacted her and sent over my professor's requirements" Chris said. "It only cost 600 yuan ($90)."
"I was worried about getting caught but in that moment I didn't have any other choice" he said.
Luckily for Chris he did not get caught and he got a B plus in that course.
Cathy (pseudonym) from Russia who is studying for her bachelor's degree at a university in Shanghai also said foreign students like her all know that you can pay people or ask Chinese friends to write your papers for you or translate your papers from English to Chinese.
"I plan to hire someone to write my paper or I will at least write the paper in English first and hire someone to translate that into Chinese" she said.
"Maybe if your Chinese is really good you can write it by yourself or translate by yourself but that's not the case for many students" Cathy said.
An agent who provides the service
Trying to get more information on the industry Metropolitan talked to a Russian who works for an agency that provides such services for foreign students in China.
A Russian man who goes by the name Alex that graduated from a Chinese university is responsible for promoting the paper-writing service and communicating with foreign customers.
After he communicates with the customer he assigns the Chinese "teachers" in his agency with the writing task.
After seeing his advertisement about the services he provides in a WeChat group a reporter from Metropolitan went undercover as a Swedish student in China and contacted Alex.
The reporter made up a subject for the thesis that she wanted written - "The Influence of Lu Xun on Chinese Contemporary Literature" and said that the word count was 5000 and that she needs it in one week.
"The price depends on the different thesis subjects" Alex replied. For this subject the fees are 300 yuan per 1000 words and your thesis will cost 1500 yuan."
"You pay half first and the other half after it is finished" he said on WeChat.
"The paper you want normally takes 2-3 weeks so we will charge an extra 500 yuan for rush fees" Alex said.
The reporter expressed her doubts about whether they could handle a 5000-word paper.
"Your paper is nothing; we are writing papers that are 10000 to 40000 characters" he replied.
If what he said is true then that means that foreign students who are completing their master's degrees or even doctorate degrees in China are using such services.
"I can't tell you how many customers we have received but it's a lot of students and you can relax; all of the students we have helped passed" Alex said.
"We have customers from the Renmin University of China Peking University and Tsinghua University all good universities."
The conversation with the agent ended there because the reporter told the agent that she needed more time to think about it.
Eager to close the deal Alex contacted the reporter the next day to see if she still wanted to hire the agency to write the paper and he even sent a screenshot of his WeChat page that showed a girl transferring him 600 yuan for the service.
"It's a long-existing industry in every part of the world. There is demand and there is supply" Chris said.
Although Chris used the service he does not promote using it.
"I don't think it's an honorable thing. You are a student; this is your essay and you have to write it" Chris said.
Since then Chris said that he has not hired anyone else to write his papers. Other than that he has written all of his own papers including his graduation thesis that was over 10000 characters.
–]Peace-Walker 8 指標 2 天前
So ghostwriting is universal hah