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China’s Top 10 College Scandals of 2006

Chinese colleges are being swept up in the tide of corruption associated with the all-for-money style of economic reform.

1. Shanghai Jiaotong University

In February 2003, Chen Jin, a testing engineer at Motorola, hired another person to remove the original logo on the MOTO-Freescale 56,800 chip that he purchased in the United States and to replace it with his own logo. This way, he appeared to have "developed" the so-called China Chip No.1. Because of his "outstanding research," he was offered the titles of professor, advisor of doctoral degree students, and president of the Microelectronics Institute. Thanks to "China Chip No.1," Chen Jin applied for dozens of heavyweight research projects and received grants totaling 1.1 billion yuan (US$140 million) for his "research." In January 2006, his plagiarism was exposed, shocking the whole country.

2. Beijing University

Shing-Tung Yau is a renowned professor of mathematics at Harvard University. In July 2006, in an interview with reporters, he claimed "most of the talent that Beijing University allegedly imported from abroad is bogus." According to a New York Times article published on October 17, 2006, "For the last year Dr. Yau has carried on a campaign against Beijing University, accusing it of committing fraud by padding its faculty with big names from overseas and paying them lucrative salaries for a few months of work."[1] Many other media outlets picked up this report.[2]

A survey in Science magazine showed that the number of such part-time professors in China had grown from 6 to 89 over the last six years, while the number of full-time professors had risen from 66 to 101. The arrangement allows Chinese universities to piggyback on the glory of work these people do in their other jobs. Dr. Yau pointed out that it also drains resources that should go to young researchers.

The authorities at Beijing University subsequently accused Dr. Yau of distorting the facts. At once, Dr. Yau, Beijing University authorities, many scholars, and China’s Ministry of Education all began hotly debating this issue. According to the online comments, most people agree with Dr. Yau’s allegations.

3. Nanjing Normal University

On September 27, 2006, university authorities "forced" 10 female students majoring in choreography at its College of Music to come to a party to dance with the high-level leaders who were visiting the school. The notorious scandal is that China’s education system is ultimately joining the tide of degeneration. They had to happily accommodate the desires of these corrupt officials.{mospagebreak}

4. Sichuan University

In 2006, a number of bogus academic research results at Sichuan University were exposed. In January, before Professor Qiu’s fake research was exposed, the bogus research of another scholar, an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was revealed, as was that of the university’s vice secretary of the Party. The Ministry of Education promised that the authorities of Sichuan University would investigate the incidents and disclose their findings to the Chinese people. As of today, no such information has been published.

5. Shanghai Normal University

In June 2006, the theses of 12 undergraduate students majoring in Oil Painting were rejected. The root cause: University President Xu Mangyao had a major academic disagreement with Liu Dahong, the thesis adviser for the 12 students. Sadly, all of the 12 theses became the sacrificial objects of the academic conflict.

6. Beijing University of Foreign Languages

On April 18, 2006, the college authorities accused Wei Yin (nickname), a Ph.D. candidate in 2002, of harassing, humiliating, and cursing her dissertation adviser using mini ads and e-mails. Because she also allegedly harassed another two faculty members, she was expelled from the school based on "sufficient evidence." After she failed in her appeal to the college, Wei Yin presented her case to the Education Committee of Beijing. The committee rescinded the decision for expulsion that the Beijing University of Foreign Languages authorities made. The media reported that nobody knows whether it was Wei Yin or the authorities at her college who misbehaved. In another scandal at Beijing Jiaotong University, exposed in 2005, a female graduate student allegedly used her body to get the admissions exam professor to let her see the graduate admission exam.

7. Huazhong University of Science and Technology

In June 2006, Professor Xiao Chuanguo of the college formally filed a lawsuit at Wuhan City Intermediate Court against Fang Zhouzhi, a scholar "renowned" for being against fake science, often called the "anti-fake science knight." Professor Xiao complained that he was not promoted to be an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences because Fang slandered him in an anti-fake science article that he published on the Internet. This was unprecedented news in Chinese academic circles as it forced a judge, who knows nothing about science or medicine, to make a judgment on an academic issue.{mospagebreak}

8. Lanzhou University

As a key college in greater northwestern China highly supported by the Ministry of Education, Lanzhou University has a lot of privileges regarding various aspects of state policies. In October 2006, however, a major scandal involving commercial bribery was exposed. Two high-ranking officials from the university—the president and the Party secretary—exploited their power in regard to a residential project and a new hospital building project to amass as much as 15.93 million yuan (US$2.0 million) in bribes.

9. Tianjin University

In November 2006, Shan Ping, the former president of the university, lost his title as representative to the 10th National People’s Congress. The reason was that Hong Jianmin, the vice president in charge of the university’s finances, abused the school treasury by borrowing money to trade in stocks. He lost 37.5 million yuan (US$4.7 million) of the school’s money, breaking the Chinese college record for the largest amount of college money to be diverted to the stock market.

10. People’s University of China

While extravagant construction in China’s colleges is no longer news, this latest incident demonstrates how today’s colleges in China are meticulously looking after their campuses instead of the fundamentals of college education. In August 2006, People’s University of China reportedly spent several million yuan to install two luxurious "tourist elevators" in a three-story cafeteria building. The "tourist elevators" outside the wall of the three-story building are to "demonstrate the scale of internationalization."[3]

Translated by CHINASCOPE from February 9, 2007.