China University Sacks Dean After Blog Rant

On March 12, Zhang Ming, dean of political sciences at Renmin University of China, posted articles detailing a row with his superior and attacking the "bureaucratization of Chinese colleges" on his well-read blog. He wrote he had irritated his superior last year by telling the media that the university had withheld some dissertation subsidies from graduate students. The superior was also angry at Zhang for speaking up for a colleague he believed was wronged by a reviewing panel whose members were selected for their official ranks instead of academic achievement. 50-year-old Zhang was formally stripped of his post on Friday: "They told me that I should be punished for ... breaking the 'hidden rules'." Zhang remained a professor at the university and was likely to be able to continue teaching.

The university confirmed his dismissal as dean on its Web site, but denied the allegations Zhang made on his blog. The Communist Party has kept a close watch on the Chinese intelligentsia since coming to power in 1949, by setting up party committees in all academic and educational institutions. Controls have eased since market reforms began in the 1980s, but unorthodox studies or teachings are still frowned upon. "Universities have become an officialdom ... The over-intervention and manipulation of academia by power definitely fetters its growth. How is China's academia doing now? Does anybody overseas read papers written by Chinese scholars? Plagiarism and theft are rampant ... Obedient kids are being taught to be minions," Zhang was quoted as saying. Renmin University's School of International Studies, which administers Zhang's department, dismissed his blog posts as "lies" which had "brought great pressure to the school," "victimized its faculty" and "damaged its reputation."

News source: eWeek

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