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No proof of sex scandal, finds Peking University

By Yin Yeping (Global Times)

08:04, August 29, 2012

Peking University (PKU) said Tuesday that an internal investigation has so far uncovered no evidence to support the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior between faculty members and staff at a restaurant near the campus.

However, some social commentators have said that for the sake of the university's image, it may have been better to have had an independent investigation.

The rumors were spread online by former PKU professor Zou Hongfu on his Sina microblog on August 21.

Zou claimed in several microblog postings that some staff from a privately-owned restaurant and some PKU faculty members had inappropriate relations.

Although PKU spokesman Jiang Langlang denied Zou's accusations at the time, the university still set up its own inquiry the same day to investigate the allegations.

A female employee from the university's Discipline Inspection Commission, who declined to be named, told the Global Times that they had conducted a thorough investigation.

This included interviews with each of the 68 staff at Mengtaoyuan restaurant, and gathering any evidence provided by the public via e-mails and phone calls.

"But right now, most of the public feedback we received are complaints or asking about the result," she said.

"We tried to get in touch with Zou in various ways, but we have not received any response from him," she said.

She noted that their investigation is still ongoing and any evidence concerning the alleged scandal is welcomed.

According to the Beijing Times Tuesday, PKU has not interviewed any of its professors or deans.

Zou said on his microblog Friday that he would only be willing to talk with the State Security Ministry, instead of the Ministry of Education or PKU, the two organizations that he claimed had offered no response over his previous inquiries as to why PKU had not extended his contract.

Zou claimed on his microblog that his dismissal by the university in 2007, where he was a professor at the Guanghua School of Management, was a personal insult and punishment.

A media officer from the State Security Ministry told the Global Times that Zou's claims might not be reliable.

"The Ministry of Education and Peking University have given this matter high priority," he said, although he did not know if Zou had been in touch with the State Security Ministry or not.

Wang Chunguang, a researcher from the Sinology Research Office of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Zou has turned his personal grievance with the university into a social matter via the strong influence of microblogs.

"I think the university should give a more active response over this case, regardless of whether the scandal is true or not," he said. Wang noted that in an age when public faith toward public organizations is low, it would be better for PKU to allow a third party to investigate the matter instead.

Shi Shusi, a social commentator, said that it is rather ironic that so much public attention was paid to the accusation, with people believing it to the extent that PKU was forced to take action, when there is no evidence to support it.

"This phenomenon may indicate that public opinion of the university's image has fallen," he said.

PKU's official response was not active and early enough, which gave the rumor time to grow, Shi noted.

The Global Times has also tried to reach Zou since the scandal broke, but as yet there has been no reply.

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