China has set up a special commission to monitor academic fraud and plagiarism in its higher-learning institutions, following a number of scandals over the past few months, China's Ministry of Education announced Thursday.
Established on Tuesday, the commission will set guidelines for colleges and universities to curb academic fraud, and specifying punishment for those caught cheating. The commission will draw on the experiences of other countries, said the commission's director Zhang Qizhi.
"The commission, however, mainly functions as an consultative and directing organization under the Ministry," Yuan Zhenguo, deputy director with the Ministry's social sciences department said.
Generally, the commission will not handle specific cases, it will focus, instead, on prevention of academic scandals through case study, public hearings and supervising the establishment of monitoring organizations in local colleges nationwide.
All of the 30-strong members of the commission will work part time, according to Yuan.
Several recent scandals at China's top universities have raised questions about the supervision of academics at higher-learning institutions.
Earlier this month, Chen Jin, a dean at Shanghai Jiaotong University, was fired for faking research on the Hanxin computer chip, which had received state-funding.
In late April, Yang Jie, former director of the Life Science and Technology Institute, was sacked from the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai after the veracity of his academic record was questioned.
Liu Hui, a professor at Beijing-based Tsinghua University, was removed from his post in March for faking his academic achievements and work experience.
"The commission is willing to cooperate with individuals and organizations that are concerned with academic fraud," Yuan said.
Education Minister Zhou Ji early this week warned researchers working at schools that they should comply with ethical guidelines or otherwise be "disciplined."
Zhou asked all universities and colleges to handle reports on academic fraud or plagiarism seriously, and conduct investigations accordingly.