A draft rule is under review by the Chinese legislature that would penalise current and former university students who earned bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degrees if they are shown to have used artificial intelligence (AI) tools to ‘manipulate data’ or write their essays, theses or dissertations. These punishments could include revoking their degrees after a committee review, according to reports. ‘The proposed law is forward-looking, it is not just for now but looks ahead to an environment where sophisticated AI-assisted writing tools become more commonplace,’ an anonymous academic in Guangzhou told University World News.

It is understood that the proposed law aims to bolster and modernise the nation’s current academic misconduct rules that have been around about 10 years to address issues like plagiarism, falsification, as well as dishonesty about academic qualifications and research papers. Although there has been lots of talk about the need to revamp such regulations in China, this new draft rule being considered by the National People’s Congress is the first legislation in the country to focus on the law governing degrees since the early 1980s, according to University World News.