Academic Integrity in China: Challenges for Policy, Practice, and Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Stephen Gow*, Qingyang Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the challenges for academic integrity in higher education in the People’s Republic of China. Despite the dramatic transformation of higher education in China in the 45 years since the post-Mao Reform and Opening-Up, much of the discourse on academic integrity in China is negative, focusing on high-profile academic misconduct and the stereotype of the acceptability of plagiarism in China. This chapter aims to provide a constructive view of academic integrity in China through analysis of five official policy initiatives on academic misconduct and dissertation quality issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education between 2013 and 2021. The thematic analysis of these policies is carried out within the context of the international and Chinese literature on academic integrity and the domestic impact of the policies. The findings indicate that although the policies advocate both a zero-tolerance approach to academic misconduct and a progressive approach to academic integrity, the former moralistic approach to academic misconduct is more prominent, resulting in an instrumental implementation. This is the result of the nature of top-down documentary politics and state involvement in higher education with the focus on quality assurance as regulation rather than enhancement. This approach must, however, be understood and discussed in the wider context of the social, economic, and political challenges China faces in order to provide a constructive discourse on educational enhancement and academic integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecond Handbook of Academic Integrity
EditorsSarah Elaine Eaton
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education
VolumePart F2304
ISSN (Print)2197-1951
ISSN (Electronic)2197-196X


  • Academic integrity
  • Academic misconduct
  • Academic misconduct policy
  • China
  • Chinese higher education
  • Dissertations
  • Documentary politics
  • Gaokao
  • Plagiarism
  • Quality assurance
  • Text-matching software


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