France probes more universities in Chinese corruption probe

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French investigators have been sent to another university as a probe widens into claims of irregularities surrounding the enrolment of Chinese students, the higher education ministry said Saturday.

Paris - French investigators have been sent to another university as a probe widens into claims of irregularities surrounding the enrolment of Chinese students, the higher education ministry said Saturday.

A spokesman said officials had gone to the university, which was not named, at the request of the rector, after minister Valerie Pecresse had called for college chiefs to be vigilant about recruitment procedures.

The head of Sud Toulon Var university, Laroussi Oueslati, resigned last month, after being suspended in May along with two deputies for allegedly hampering an investigation by the ministry.

The inquiry confirmed that the faculty in the south of France had bent the rules to award degrees to Chinese students who did not merit them, allegedly for cash.

Press reports that exposed the alleged diploma fraud claimed the system was common in other French universities.

Recently judicial authorities launched an investigation at Pierre Mendes-France University in the southeastern city of Grenoble after Chinese students found that the course on which they had enrolled did not exist.

The higher education ministry and the foreign ministry had now decided to carry out an in-depth examination of the whole system of recruiting Chinese students, the spokesman said Saturday.

It would extend from their selection in their home country all the way through to their enrollment at a French university.

The number of Chinese studying in France exploded from only 2,000 in 1999 to 22,452 in 2007, making them the second biggest foreign student population behind Morocco.

AFP/Expatica

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