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Academy welcomes supervision over elections


19:28, May 03, 2013

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Friday said it welcomed public supervision over its election of members, after queries were raised recently about the organization's non-selection of a high-profile scientist.

Question marks were raised following the election on April 30 of three Chinese scientists as foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of the United States.

The three are Che Chi-Ming, a Hong Kong professor of chemistry; Yuk-Ming Dennis Lo., a Hong Kong professor of medicine; and Shi Yigong, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Tsinghua University.

However, Shi had previously failed to be elected as a CAS member. His favoring in the United States, seemingly at odds with his domestic peers' perceptions, has prompted people to doubt the criteria for CAS membership and allege a lack of transparency in the CAS members' biennial election.

In Friday's statement, the top Chinese think tank welcomed all walks of life to supervise the process under which CAS members are chosen.

The statement said the CAS and the NAS are "two separate academic organizations" that belong to China and the United States, respectively, and the election of their members is based on respective procedures and criteria.

"They are independent and are not necessarily related," it said, adding that some outstanding, world-acknowledged Chinese scientists are likewise not NAS foreign members.

"The election of CAS academics is strictly in line with detailed rules and regulations," according to the statement, which explained that members of each division are elected via secret ballot cast by all the existing members.

After voting, the elected members have to go through a series of examinations and approval procedures before the final announcement is made, and "any individual or institution cannot, and should not, influence the election process and results."

"We have, for a long time, adhered to the principle of impartiality and fairness during the process of members' elections," the CAS, which is nevertheless discussing further improvements to the electoral system, said in the statement.

Scientists who are CAS members are "ordinary members of the academic circle," and the title should be "treated rationally," it added.

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