Missing or stolen school records are turning Chinese students' once bright futures into nightmarish misfortune, reports the New York Times. Without the documents, graduates have no proof of their degrees and honors, and the would-be chemists can quickly become day laborers. The likely culprit of the missing files? Mistrusted Communist Party state workers who sell the records to parents of deadbeat students seeking to reinvent themselves.
Student files are a major moneymaker for corrupt bureaucrats. Earlier this year, a former township official in Hunan Province paid $7,000 for stolen records so his daughter could get into a good college. Parents of victimized students who complain aren't getting any satisfaction. “We are so exhausted,” said one mom. “Our nerves are about to snap from this torture. The officials who were responsible not only have not been punished, they have been promoted.”