BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- A total of 2,219 candidates, or 0.023 percent of the 10.2 million college entrance exam sitters in China this year, were found cheating, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE) Friday.
The ministry said the cheating cases were down from 0.026 percent of last year, representing a historical low in terms of percentage since the national college examination was resumed in 1977 due to tight surveillance and heavier punishment.
The number of candidates saw a steady increase since 1977 and reached its peak last year with 10.5 million registered candidates.
The national college entrance examination was halted during the10-year-long Cultural Revolution.
In recent years, the entrance examination, usually dubbed the "big exam", faced increasing challenges as some candidates started to deploy high-tech cheating devices when sitting exams.
To combat cheating, the Ministry of Public Security instructed police departments to make detailed plans to ensure the security of exam sites. Exams fall on June 7 to 9 each year.
Authorities of education, public security and information management also launched joint campaigns to crack down on illegal manufacturing and sales of high-tech devices aimed at exam cheating schemes.
Round-the-clock hotlines were opened for public supervision and electric devices were used to monitor and supervise exam sites, according to the MOE.
Nearly 1,100 cheaters with serious violations would be disqualified not only for recruitment this year but also for next year's exam registration, an MOE official surnamed Jiang said.
College students who sat the exam for others would be expelled from school and teachers would be removed from their post if they were found orchestrating cheating schemes, Jiang said.
College seats are hotly contested because a university diploma often means better job opportunities and higher income in the long term. This has been blamed for motivating some candidates to cheat.