One hour and about $40 is all it takes to get a fake degree in China, but the chances of fooling an employer or foreign university have diminished following a crackdown in recent years. (Note, none of this is exclusive to China. It is an universal problem which is very easy to demonstrate.)
Marriage certificates, driving licences and diplomas are also seen as fair game by the forgers.
Measures put in place by the Chinese authorities have made it possible to limit cheating and many counterfeit diplomas are detected by authentication procedures.
The crackdown on counterfeiting may have driven the trade away from the city centres but in certain districts it is still easy to track down forgers.
AFP reported Li Ping, director of one of three departments at the education ministry in charge of certifying diplomas, as saying they were receiving increasing numbers of authentication requests, ‘especially from people who want to go abroad to continue their studies’.
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The writer, who to his own knowledge never passed any examination in his life (you can hardly put 11 Plus failed on your name card), was offered a PhD from a reputable university in Australia under most disreputable circumstances. He turned the offer down — politely.