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Varsity whistle blower has 'important clues'

By Li Qian (Shanghai Daily)

08:33, August 31, 2012

A FORMER professor at Peking University who blew the lid on an alleged sex scandal involving top school officials has insisted that he has "massive important clues" but would only share them with the top Chinese discipline watchdog.

Reacting to the university's plea to provide conclusive evidence regarding the scandal, Zou Hengfu, a former professor of economics at the school, said he hadn't planned on offering "major evidences" to the university during his meeting with university officials on Wednesday. Instead, in his e-mail sent to the university yesterday, he pointed to the corruption in the students union election, China Youth Daily reported.

"The reason why I contacted the university is that I want to prove I neither made false accusations nor hid myself from the media," he added.

Last week, Zou claimed in a microblog post that his former colleagues had regularly sexually harassed hostesses at a restaurant they frequented.

Zou claimed that deans and directors would "always do that" after having meals at the Mengtaoyuan Restaurant, located close to the university hospital. The posts have been widely circulated online and greatly tarnished the image of the university, one of the top higher-education institutions in China.

The university claimed Zou hadn't provided any evidence and couldn't be accessed until he called the university's discipline supervision office on Wednesday morning. But he just continued to expose a series of corruption cases rather than offer any useful evidence to confirm the sex accusations, according to a statement by the university.

"The university once again urges Zou to come to our office to provide conclusive evidence. Since his words have severely damaged our reputation, we won't wait for him endlessly and are ready to take further action any time."

The school refused to disclose whether it would take Zou to court as part of its so-called "further action."

Yesterday, Zou refused to confirm whether he has any conclusive evidence while admitting to "exaggerating" some facts. "I meant only a handful of faculty behaved indecently. I always make overstatements and that's my style of speaking," he wrote on Weibo.com.

Although Zou's accusations are vague at best, they have struck a chord with some Chinese netizens. Weibo users have noted that Zou's account has been verified and tied to his real identity, adding that it is not likely that a public figure would risk his or her reputation by making false accusations.

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