When professors in China need to author research papers to get promoted, many turn to people like Lu Keqian.
Working on his laptop in a cramped spare bedroom, the former schoolteacher ghostwrites for professors, students, government offices — anyone willing to pay his fee, typically about 300 yuan ($45).
“My opinion is that writing papers for someone else is not wrong,” he said. “There will always be a time when one needs help from others. Even our great leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping needed help writing.”
Ghostwriting, plagiarizing or faking results is so rampant in Chinese academia that some experts worry it could hinder China’s efforts to become a leader in science.