Tsinghua alumni call for firing of prominent economist

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/2 23:18:41

A group of 27 Tsinghua University graduates has allegedly called for the firing of one of China's leading economists for reportedly claiming in a speech last year that China's national strength had surpassed that of the US.

China has overtaken the US in all respects, Hu Angang, head of the Institute of Contemporary China Study at Tsinghua University, said in a speech at a workshop hosted by the CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies in April 2017, The Beijing News reported.

China surpassed the US in economic power in 2013, in technology in 2015 and in overall power in 2012, Hu reportedly asserted.

"As of 2016, China's economic power, technology power and overall power is respectively 1.15, 1.31 and 1.36 times that of the US, ranking first in the world," Hu was quoted as saying by the newspaper. 

In a photo of a letter published online by Weibo user yudihanzi, the alumni appealed to the president of Tsinghua University to fire Hu.

Hu's research opposed common sense, the letter said. "It not only exposes him to ridicule… but raises the vigilance of other countries. It misleads the public."

The 27 accused Hu of failing to respect facts and objective data in his studies. More than 500 Tsinghua alumni agreed to sign the statement as of Thursday, yudihanzi posted.

Tsinghua University could not be reached for comment. The letter could not be verified as of press time.

Rhetoric such as "China surpassing the US" is  popular at a time when nationalist sentiments run strong, read a commentary on news site sohu.com.

Hu's remarks, which were packaged as academic research, made him an "academic opportunist," the commentary said. It suggested the university investigate the alleged academic misconduct of Hu. 

Overconfidence toward China's development is not welcomed in Chinese society amid trade tensions between the US and China, Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Catering to a certain social sentiment or a boasting style of research will damage the academic atmosphere and should be avoided, especially from scholars at public universities, read a Thursday commentary from the Beijing News.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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