Ex-mayor exposed for plagiarism

By Liu Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2013-10-23 1:08:01

Ji Jianye, former mayor of Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, who has been put under investigation for suspected discipline and economic violations, was recently exposed for plagiarism in his doctoral thesis, revealing the phenomenon of academic corruption within officials pursuing on-the-job degrees.

Ji was sacked last week after being Nanjing's mayor since January 2010, according to the Xinhua News Agency, while his high-profile academic background was also thrown under the spotlight.

According to Ji's profile, he obtained his on-the-job doctorate in law from Soochow University in 2006 and completed on-the-job post-doctoral research at the Renmin University of China in 2011.

Zhang Yinghong, a research fellow with the Beijing Rural Economy Research Center, had pointed out Ji's plagiarism in 2007 in an online article, saying that in six places Ji's doctoral thesis was almost identical with his previous publication without any attribution.

"I was surprised to find someone just directly copied my work on farmers' rights. It's good that Ji paid attention to the topic as an official, but I just hope he could be cautious with academic standards," Zhang told the Global Times Tuesday.

Zhang said a college teacher contacted him later, explaining that they forgot to add attribution when editing Ji's thesis.

Another professor from the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law also said Ji's doctoral thesis plagiarized more than 3,000 words from one of his papers, and Ji tried to compensate him with a 200,000-yuan ($32,827) research fund later, but the offer was declined, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

"It is meaningless to discuss Ji's plagiarism now since he has been under investigation. But we should pay more attention to the widespread academic corruption by government officials," said Zhang.

It is now a common phenomenon for officials to pursue further education in order to get promotion. However, they are too busy to attend classes or finish their homework, so they would ask scholars or secretaries to do that, Zhang added.

Zhang Shuguang, former head of the transportation bureau under the disassembled Ministry of Railways, was reported to have gathered 30 experts in a hotel to write a book for his academician election, according to the Beijing News. Zhang also confessed in court that he took 23 million yuan of bribes for the "academician election."

"There is a trade of interests between officials and scholars. Officials need the diploma for promotion, while scholars could help officials to complete work in trade for their political power or money," Liu Zonghong, a professor with the Shanghai Party Institute, told the Global Times.

The government should reform the current promotion system for officials. "It's unreasonable to make diplomas a must. On the other hand, scholars should stick to basic morality and focus on academic research," Liu added. 

Posted in: Politics

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