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February 26, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

To get residency, students make patent falsehoods

THE city is tightening scrutiny when issuing hukou, or permanent residency, to non-local university and college students who claim to be patent-holders, after finding a great deal of dishonesty in applications.

Many seniors have been caught buying patents from agent firms or hiring others to apply for patents in their names. They were trying to embellish their applications for hukou, which can be crucial for gaining employment, medical care and pensions.

"We started to regulate the practice, which was found a bit in disorder in the past years," said Tian Lei, an official in charge of graduate employment in the Shanghai Education Commission. Tian said the education authorities have caught "many" graduates who cheated with fake patents since the evaluation system was adopted in 2004. But he refused to give specific figures.

To compete for hukou, applicants must go through the evaluation system, which looks at educational background, academic performances, language proficiency and computer skills.

To encourage the entrepreneurial spirit, the city government grants priority to non-local students who hold a patent or are applying for one, or who start a business.

That's why many college students are eager to get a patent - and why an agent business has sprung up to help them, honestly and otherwise.

"Students can get a patent for exterior design after paying 2,000 yuan (US$293)," an agent who identified herself as Shi Chunhua told Shanghai Daily.

"You don't have to have any innovative idea, we will do the whole process for you," she added.

Shi said the demand for the business is huge and she receives many student commissions every day.

In the effort to stem dishonest behavior, the education and human resources authorities are introducing public supervision into the process.

In a new stipulation, students' patents or patent applications must be published on their campus Websites to invite public opinion. Only those without any objection will be considered valid.

Shanghai issues hukou to about 20,000 high-performing non-local fresh college graduates every year.


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