Shattered dreams: college admissions got “stolen” in China

An old photo of Gou Jing and her friends in high school

Recently, a woman named Gou Jing from East China’s Shandong province posted online about having lost the opportunities to go to college TWICE after her identity was stolen by her head teacher’s daughter and someone else decades ago. Gou’s post got the attention of many. But she was later warned by the Chinese authority for “tarnishing the image” of her home town.

Gou Jing, a native of Rencheng, Jining in Southwest Shandong province, said on June 22 that she had been impersonated for two consecutive years at the college entrance exams in 1997 and 1998.

In 1997, the identity thief was, as she claimed, the daughter of a headteacher at her high school, who took her place and her name at a university in Beijing. In 1998, though she had an excellent academic performance, she “failed” the college entrance exam because her score was “switched” again.

Gou said it was not until 2002 did she realize that someone might have taken her place in college, because she was told a woman with the same name from Jining was attending a college in Beijing.

Because the surname Gou is very rare, Gou Jing started to wonder whether the person was an imposter.

In 2003, the head teacher sent her a “letter of apology”. In the letter, the teacher expressed his guilt about the incident: “My daughter was not as smart as you, so I had no choice but to let her take your place in college in 1997. As a teacher, I know what I did was unethical, but I hope you could forgive me.”

Ms. Gou could not afford the time or money to take any legal actions after she received the letter, because she already got married and gave birth to a daughter.

Ms Gou Jing’s high school diploma

People like Ms. Gou, hardworking students from poor families in the countryside, do not have the means to fight for their rights and are often picked as victims of college-related identity theft. They often accepted their fate as being unlucky when they unexpectedly “failed” the college entrance exams.

After high school, Gou said, she had been living in shame after “failing” to go to college as one of the top students in her class in an elite high school. All her high school classmates went to colleges except her. They later became professors and respected professionals in their areas of expertise. But she had to toil as a street vendor in a faraway place to hide from her old memories. Her hard work was eventually paid off when her online business took off.

Her heart was still not at ease, but “it’s a foregone conclusion and there is no way to turn the tide,” she said.

She rarely visited her family in the village, because she felt guilty for having wasted her family’s hard-earned money by taking college entrance exams twice. One of her younger sisters dropped off from middle school to wash dishes in order to support Ms. Gou’s college dream.

That was the state of the matter until this June. When Chen Chunxiu, a farmer’s daughter in Guanxian county also in Shandong, was replaced by an imposter for college, triggering public concerns — and a new resolve for Gou.

That was when she decided to publicize what she had gone through.

Gou Jing’s original post about missing college twice as a victim of “organized” identity theft.

“I’m not trying to hurt my teacher, but to correct similar mistakes,” she said. “I don’t need apologies or any compensation. I just want to find out the truth.”

According to Gou Jing, after the imposters in Shandong were brought to light, the headteacher surnamed Qiu, now nearly 80, had visited her family in her hometown without a hint of remorse. Instead, he reminded her mom of the upcoming high school entrance exam for Ms. Guo’s niece at the end of his visit.

Qiu took some muscle men to visit Gou Jing’s workplace in Zhejiang, but Ms. Gou was too intimidated to face them.

When Ms. Gou’s dying father learned about the college identity theft in his hospital bed, he made some strong expressions even though he was too weak to talk.

The “government” of Rencheng in Jining issued a circular on June 24, saying relevant departments have formed a joint investigation team and have reached Gou, adding the results will be released to the public in a timely manner.

Gou Jing sent another post on social media after she was warned by the local government for tarnishing the image of her hometown.

Now she started to fear for her life according to her responses on social media, and she was too afraid to answer phone calls.

According to the CCP’s media, the Shandong Provincial Education Department has tracked down 242 people suspected of identity theft to get enrolled in college between 2002 and 2009.

Under the rule of Chinese Communist Party, anything can be turned into a “product” with a price tag.

Gou Jing appeared in this recent video demanding the truth from the authority. She said she wanted an answer for her late father.

After her college admission was stolen for the second time in 1998, mysteriously she got admitted to a vocational school along with many other students all from the countryside who had never heard of that school let alone applying for it. Disappointed by the quality of the school, she left before long.

Source: Chinese Social Media & China Daily

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