A mainland Chinese website is selling forged college diplomas for profit.
Named “The Diploma Factory,” the website claims that it can reproduce degree certifications and graduation diplomas from major universities in China and around the world.
According to HK01, a newspaper in Hong Kong, the website claims that it is only selling the fake diplomas as “novelty products” and that they do not “deceive, force, or rob any of their clients.” However, when a HK01 reporter posed as an interested buyer, the website administrator boasted that past buyers have used the forged certifications to deceive employers and successfully get hired.
The website has different price ranges, with the more realistic-looking diplomas costing more. One costing 4,800 yuan (about $718) has an imitation watermark and visible fibers in the paper, while the cheaper one priced at 1,800 yuan (about $269) is simply printed with an ink-jet printer, the website administrator told the HK01 reporter.
“The one priced at 4800 yuan is comparable to the real thing,” she says. “If the workmanship is too poor, and the paper looks entirely different [from the real diploma], it would definitely raise suspicions.”
In fact, forging degree certifications is common in China, and the practice is now spreading overseas with the increasing number of Chinese students studying abroad in recent years.
According to a BBC News report in 2015, a Chinese website was found selling fake diplomas from dozens of universities in the UK, including the University of Kent and University of Surrey, as well as some American universities.
A 2017 web post by a Chinese company that assists Chinese who are studying abroad explicitly advertised services such as “making fake American degree certifications and report cards,” “making fake IELTS/TOEFL [English proficiency exams] transcripts,” and “making fake admission letters.”
“There exists no channel in China to verify the authenticity of foreign [university] diplomas,” the post reads. “Thus, all you need to do to get into private firms and foreign companies, or to start your own business [in China], is to have a diploma.”
It also emphasizes the benefits of returning to China with a foreign degree, citing more lucrative employment, residence, and higher education opportunities.
The post also noted that the fake degrees can be used to help professionals apply for scientific research funding that the central government has specially allocated for those who have returned to China after working or studying abroad.