University teacher punished for ‘incorrect’ remarks on ancient China’s scientific development

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/21 21:33:40

A teacher in Southwest China received punishments of no promotion and suspension from teaching for two years from his university for "incorrect" comments on social media, in which he said that there was no scientific innovation in ancient China.

The teachers' morality committee of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, allegedly issued a notification of punishment for a teacher named Zheng Wenfeng for his "wrong" remarks on ancient China's scientific development, according to documents circulating online.

The notification, the authenticity of which has not yet been confirmed by the university, said that Zheng's behavior was against teachers' morality, and he should be punished by cancelling his opportunities for evaluation and promotion and suspending his teaching activity for two years.

The notification gave some examples of Zheng's "incorrect" remarks, such as "there was no substantial innovation in ancient China" and the "Four Great Inventions are not advanced in the world, nor do they form de facto productivity or collaboration." 

Zheng released these remarks on QQ, a social media platform owned by Tencent, and they later spread to another social platform, Zhihu, causing a very bad impact on society.

The issue triggered heated online discussion with many netizens questioning whether the punishments are too heavy for only some personal comments.

"Isn't freedom of speech supposed to be precious in university education?" one netizen commented.

Some also questioned whether the so-called teachers' morality committee was authorized to decide on such a punishment for the teacher. Usually punishment decisions for teachers should be made by schools' administrative departments or Party member management departments.  

However, some others questioned the authenticity of the notification as neither the university nor Zheng had responded yet as of press time. 

According to the notice, Zheng graduated from Chengdu University of Technology in June 2008 and started working at UESTC in July 2008. He is now a senior engineer with the School of Automation Engineering at UESTC.

Global Times


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