I’d be rioting, too

This story is painful to read. It boils down to the same rotten thing, the willingness to make a buck at anyone’s expense, even if you ruin lives and dreams along the way.

College students in central China smashed offices and set fires in a riot sparked by administrative changes that made their diplomas less prestigious, students and school administrators said Monday.

Photos of the weekend riots posted on the Internet showed fires set in debris-strewn school courtyards and glass smashed in administrative offices, shops, cars and a bank. Students said police with water cannons had moved onto the campus of Shengda Economics, Trade and Management College in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. It was unclear if there were any clashes.

There was no mention of the apparent riots in the country’s state-controlled media. Campus unrest is treated with extreme sensitivity in China, where 1989 student pro-democracy protests led to the bloody military crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Zhengzhou police and local government and education officials said they had no details of the weekend protests or could not comment without permission from Communist Party officials….

The Zhengzhou riots appeared to reflect the massive pressure Chinese students face in an increasingly competitive job market. Many families go into massive debt to send children to a university, and a huge expansion in higher education has led to white-hot competition for jobs, making a degree’s prestige ever more important.

Students said they entered Shengda, a private college, after recruiters promised they would get diplomas from the better-known Zhengzhou University, which Shengda is affiliated with.

However, while students graduating this year will receive Zhengzhou degrees, those graduating next year will only receive Shengda degrees, said students who e-mailed The Associated Press and posted comments on an online school bulletin board that was later shut down.

“We’ve been cheated out of three years,” said one posting, signed Yvonne, on the online education blog http://www.3ec.cn/. Parents, many of them poor farmers, apparently had been willing to pay Shengda’s relatively high $1,250 annual tuition because they believed their children would receive Zhengzhou University degrees.

There’s no depths to which some people won’t sink before the almighty RMB. As usual, it’s the little guys with no money or power who get screwed. If the students’ claims are even half-true, the recruiters should go to jail for a long time.

The Discussion: One Comment

Isn’t there some saying like, ‘if it sounds to good to be true it probably isn’t’? I mean really, did anyone actually expect to go to an average university but get a degree from a much higher level one? And if that was possible would it be right? Anyone who says yes, please leave your email address so the rest of us can forward all of our junk mail, I mean, great offers for an accredited online university to you.

I’m having trouble feeling pity for one side more then the other because they’re both nothing but cheaters.

June 20, 2006 @ 6:21 am | Comment

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