Academic fraud exposer given "righteous person of the year in China" award

08:22, January 28, 2011      

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A Chinese writer famous for debunking bogus research was recognized Thursday with a "righteous person of the year in China" award.

A leading Chinese legal news website honored Fang Shimin -- better known by his pen name Fang Zhouzi -- for his work exposing fraud.

The website of the Procuratorial Daily, the official newspaper of China's Supreme People's Procuratorate, conferred the Righteous Person of the Year Award.

The organizing committee of the award called Fang a fearless fighter "fastidious" about facts who "constantly throws daggers" at academic fraud and the fabrication of academic credentials.

Nine other people and groups, including a tycoon who used his helicopter to chase robbers and six men who stopped an attack at a primary school, were also given the award.

Fang said at the award ceremony that what he had done was good for the public, and that he himself had earned nothing but fame for his work.

"I think becoming famous is not a bad thing. But the point is how you deal with that fame," said the 44-year-old man, who has put fires under a number of well-known figures.

He said fraud by celebrities does greater public harm than that by ordinary citizens.

Fang hit Chinese headlines several times over the past year. In August, he was attacked by thugs hired by Xiao Chuanguo, a urologist who Fang had accused of academic misconduct.

Xiao believed Fang's accusations had caused his failure to be admitted to the elite Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Xiao was sentenced to five and a half months in detention for the attack.

The science cop joked on his microblog Monday he felt "very safe" when sitting in front of a senior official of the Supreme People's Procuratorate at the award ceremony.

Just days before he was mugged, he embarrassed Jun Tang, former CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region, who had become known as "king of employees" for his successful career. Fang questioned the authenticity of Jun's doctorate.

Fang alleged there were no records of Tang's graduation or dissertation at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and so Tang could not have received a doctorate in computer science from the institution.

Fang's work prompted a heated debate about honesty and integrity in China.

Fang is a native of east China's Fujian Province. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Michigan State University in the United States in 1995.

Source: Xinhua
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