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80% of Newly Elected Academicians Are Officials

A recent Xinhua report shows that among the 35 newly elected members of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 80% hold administrative positions in universities or research institutes; among the 48 new Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) members, the proportion runs as high as 85%. In China, there are few private universities and research institutes. 

In 2001, a Minister of the Railroad was elected into CAE; in 2003, a Minister of Construction and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, together with some businessmen made their way into the nation’s highest body of scientists. 
In recent years there have been calls to set up elections for Academicians for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Many opposed the idea, however, seeing the rampant corruption in the education system. In an article, a scholar from Yunnan Province said, “A number of politicians have stolen the professorship. … How will such a high honor of Academicians not be tarnished by politicians?”
Source: Xinhua, December 17, 2009