Professor in Wuhan removed from posts after his children won a national-level science prize

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/16 17:14:14

Photo: IC

A professor at Wuhan University in Central China's Hubei Province is being audited by the university, following the revelation that his two daughters, a third-grader and a fifth-grader, won third prize at a national-level contest held mid-July with their co-research work on an anti-tumor experimental study involving polyphenol from tea, sparking controversy online.

The audit began on September 1 and focuses on the economic responsibilities of the professor, named Li Hongliang, and the auditing period will be from December 20, 2016 to July 31, 2020, an announcement by the university released on August 28 said.

This is not the first time that Li has been brought into the spotlight. He has been repeatedly reported by academic peers for academic fraud since 2018.

Li was removed from his posts as director of the Institute of Model Animal and director of the Collaborative Innovation Center of Model Animal by Wuhan University on September 7, Pear Video reported.

He also resigned as the dean of the School of Basic Medical Sciences on September 15. 

An insider told the Pear Video that Li does not currently hold any administrative positions at the university and is barely seen on campus.

Li came under the spotlight after his two daughters won the prize at the China Adolescents Science and Technology Innovation Contest with scientific research and experimental results showing that "green tea extract EGCG has certain anti-tumor effects."

Many netizens questioned how the kids dared to take and use the livers of mice, as their research posted online shows pictures of dead mice, and how they managed to finish their research considering such experiments require rigorous logic, data processing and also strong medical support. Li was suspected of providing assistance in some form to their research.

However, Li denied the accusations online on July 17 and said he wasn't involved in the research. "Personally, I think the study and application are in line with the [competition] standards," he told the media. "I hope that people will not [emotionally] harm [my] children." 

The Wuhan Association for Science and Technology began investigating the case and announced on July 17 that the two primary students completed the research by themselves independently after training.

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