Why is plagiarism so rampant here?

I am grading a major assignment and about half are blatantly plagiarized. Just whole paragraphs lifted from published journal articles.

The other half, the quality is horrible (w a few exceptions) but at this point, sad as it sounds, it’s a relief to read them because at least they haven’t been plagiarized.

Why??? These are senior undergrads, and masters and PhD students. ???

And yes, it’s clearly written in the syllabus that plagiarism will not be tolerated, and we discussed it at length on the first day of class.


They know the university won’t fail them. It’s worse in China, once you are in, your are virtually guaranteed to pass, students do not fear repercussions for plagiarism.


Well, I’m going to fail them.

I agree that’s the case in Taiwan, but am a surprised about what you said about China - I’d heard that there’s more competition there so students must try harder. I haven’t worked there myself though.


They have to work hard until they get into uni, after that everybody stops trying.


Everyone’s fate is determined by the Gaokao.

There is no competition for schools, just competition for Gaokao marks. Once you in, you in.

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Depressing all around then. Really makes me feel there is no point in teaching then.

Earning money.

Well. I mean China in particular.

It’s pretty hard to come up with something original these days, most things have been done. But yes, they could rephrase or reword it.

Plagiarize better?

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I’m told there are websites where you can get your assignments done for a modest payment. I wonder if some of those plagiarized articles are actually originating from these sources - in other words, the student isn’t even aware that the essay is plagiarized. It’s just ordinary laziness/cheating.

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IME students who plagiarise are really lazy and lift it straight from wiki.

When I studied in England I received a ton of emails from Chinese sources all the time about ghostwriting essays. I think they spam everyone with a Chinese last name.


Doesn’t using a ghostwriting service/essay mill also fall under the definition of “plagiarism”, i.e., trying to pass someone else’s work off as one’s own?

Good point.

In that case, they’ve managed to plagiarize twice :slight_smile:


When I was doing my master’s in the UK a Chinese student asked me to proof one of her essays. I spotted immediately that she had cut and pasted most of it. I told her she shouldn’t do it, but she did anyway. I expected her to get expelled or at least disciplined, but the essay came back with an OK grade.

Now, the guy she plagiarised was Krashen so how on earth could an Applied Linguistics professor not have noticed it? He just couldn’t be bothered is my guess.

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I was told that the professors were “encouraged” by the school to not fail anyone. The most egregious example I have heard was a Chinese student google translating her essay from Chinese to English. The professor wanted to fail her but the school advised against it. She still passed the module lol.

This is what happens when your higher education is too dependent on Chinese money.


Here in the US I’ve heard professors discuss with their PhD students about who they should have in their thesis reading committee, saying stuff like “we won’t have problems with prof. XYZ, he never reads theses.”

My respects to @rad51 though, the state of things in academia is exactly why I’m leaving after my PhD. I’ve read theses that were 90% rewording of papers and the rest lightweight research. Lots of smoke for the show but little substance.


Or Saudi money, or Thai. As long as international students pay a lot more there will be an incentive to pass them through the system so next year’s crop isn’t sent to the uni down the road.

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Not even close to the oversaturation of Chinese students in British universities.

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