Photos of questionable veracity posted on Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo by a person alleging to be a high school senior from the city of Xiaogan claim to show students studying for their National College Entrance Exams while hooked up to IV drips containing an unknown substance.
According to Ministry of Tofu, which first brought these photos to Western attention, the director of Office of Academic Affairs, "Mr. Xia," was quoted as saying that graduating seniors taking the infamous "gao kao" are granted a subsidy for animo acids, which are administered by the school's infirmary.
He said that some students had been below par recently due to the sudden weather changes in the city of Xiaogan, and the school infirmary had been packed with students. In order to spare students the trouble of running back and forth between the infirmary and the classroom and save their time, the school decided to arrange IV drip sessions right in the classroom.
Comments left by other Sina Weibo users appear to suggest that there is some truth to the account. "I also experienced this back then," wrote a commenter. Others expressed shock and revulsion. "This must be a performance art show!" said one microblogger.
Sadly, that prospective matriculants would resort to such drastic measures in order to keep from passing out during all-night cram sessions is all too believable. Says Ministry of Tofu:
As the sum of the subject marks received by students determines if they can be accepted by their dream schools and if they can go to college at all, regardless of their previous academic performances in high school, the College Entrance Examination is deemed a rite of passage and a life-and-death turning point.