The China Daily recently reported that student Ping-Ping Wang had admitted that since junior school she had hired someone to replace her mother for parents' evenings.
Ping-Ping was a star pupil in Dalian, in north-east China, but felt her mother had embarrassed her in front of her class and teachers when she was invited to an event to celebrate her daughter's success. Mrs Wang had worn her usual shabby clothes and then publicly berated her daughter for "not washing her own socks".
"After that, my classmates wondered if I was adopted because we are so different," Ping-Ping said.
When she moved to middle school, she told her mother there were no parents' meetings and then asked a friend's aunt if she would stand in at the monthly events. She claimed her mother had gone abroad and paid her friend 50 yuan (pound;3.50) to keep the secret. Mrs Wang discovered the truth months later, but was still begged by her daughter to stay home until she had smartened up.