By Li Jianmin
BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- China's prestigious Beijing University has sacked a teacher of English for plagiarism, The Beijing News Daily reported Thursday.
Huang Zongying, former associate professor of the Department of English Language and Literature with the university's Foreign Languages School, was accused of plagiarizing other scholars' ideas and expressions in his own academic works from 1999 to 2003, including literary books and academic papers, the newspaper said, citing an investigation report by the English Department.
"All his published works during the period have been found to have apparent, grave and extensive plagiarism, totaling 20 articles," said the report.
In one of his literary commentary works, a book on American poet, critic and editor T.S. Eliot, 74 percent of the content was copied from other scholars' academic achievements, the report said.
Huang pursued his doctoral studies in the English Department of Beijing University in 1993 and was later employed as an English teacher by the department after graduation in 1996. He was promoted to associate professor just a year later.
Huang, as chairman of the Labor Union of the Foreign Languages School, was enthusiastic about public welfare and praised by his colleagues as "behaving very well", the newspaper said.
"However, academic evaluation is different from moral evaluation", said You Xiaoli, associate professor of Suzhou University in east China's Jiangsu Province. "As a scholar, Huang's academic credit has problems, which directly harm the credit of his school and university. Beijing University is thus fully justifiable to give him a severe penalty."
It is indeed a rare case in China for a university to sack its teacher for plagiarism, as previous practice shows that many of the plagiarist scholars still publish their papers and still work as professors, though their scandals have been disclosed, said You.
"Plagiarism is one of the chronic illnesses of academic corruption that is troubling current Chinese academic circles, as several such cases and famous scholars have been uncovered for this scandal in recent years," said You, also special commentator of The Beijing News.
You blamed the existing imperfect academic evaluation system, which puts more emphasis on how many books a scholar writes and how many papers he publishes, as the root cause that breeds academic corruption.
In fact, China has stepped up efforts to fight academic corruption this year, as the Ministry of Education has just published a stipulation in June on criteria of academic studies inthe field of philosophy and social sciences in higher institutions,involving many specific rules on writing academic papers and booksand on academic evaluation as well.
"It is the first 'Constitution ' for China's academic circles,"said Yang Yusheng, a scholar well-known for fighting against academic corruption and also initiator of the ministry's stipulation.
Yang suggested higher institutions draw up their own specific regulations in this respect according to their own actual conditions to oversee and punish those scholars infringing on others' intellectual property rights or violating academic "moral standards".
Xu Zhihong, president of Beijing University admitted here Thursday at the ongoing second China-Foreign Presidents' Forum held from Aug. 4 to 10 that cheating is an issue facing up to China's academic circles, science circles and education circles.
"To build a world first-class university, a favorable academic atmosphere is more important, in addition to the number of published academic papers," he said. Enditem