University of Wales Swansea, UK
This article explores the issue of plagiarism from the perspective of Chinese students studying in a UK higher education institution. The Chinese learning culture generally emphasises a substantial period of imitation before creativity can be contemplated. In writing, this frequently translates into quoting other people’s work as an integrated part of one’s writing. Moreover, the Chinese culture does not emphasise attribution of cited text, which is often construed as plagiarism by the Western culture. From the learner’s point of view, however, what is taken as plagiarism is often one of the routes Chinese learners use to achieve competency in writing. This article suggests judging suspicious cases of plagiarism on the ground of student effort spent in researching and writing, rather than on the formalities of citation. In terms of plagiarism administration, methods for avoiding plagiarism and detecting plagiarism are discussed, although it is recommended that teachers of Chinese learners be more pedagogically-minded, rather than concentrating on “discipline”.