Peking University, one of the top academic institutions in China, exposed 124 fake schools on Tuesday, saying that the imposters have no association with the university even though their names suggest otherwise.
Most of these schools recruit students for continuing education or other non-degree programs. Their names — “Peking University Seminar,” “Peking University Enterprise Management Training,” “Peking University Business Online,” and so on — and website addresses all incorporate the name of their prestigious non-relation.
Some of the websites could no longer be accessed on Thursday.
When contacted by Sixth Tone on Thursday, an admissions officer surnamed Li of “Peking University CEO Training” said the courses on e-commerce would be held on the campus of Peking University. Li added that tuition is paid to a Peking University bank account, and that invoices are provided by the institution’s finance department.
Li said the program’s certificates of completion are sealed with the university’s official stamp, adding that the courses are set up by PKU’s Institute of Computer Science and Technology.
A staff member at Peking University’s Office of Continuing Education told Sixth Tone on Thursday that it hasn’t cooperated with any institutions on running such programs. She added that the school does not have the time to do more than release a list with the schools’ names. “There are simply too many institutions recruiting students in our name,” she said.
Zhao Zhanling, an intellectual property rights researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law, told Sixth Tone Peking University could sue on grounds that the imitators are infringing upon its name and reputation.
It is not the first time Peking University released a list of fake schools using its name. The first list in 2014 named 37 fraudulent institutions.
In May, search engine Baidu and academic information platform sdaxue.com published a list of 73 institutions selling fake university degrees. Those “schools” also used names that sounded similar to well-regarded Chinese universities.
Additional reporting by Wang Lianzhang.
(Header image: The west gate of Peking University, Beijing, July 5, 2012. VCG)