China / Hot Issues

Professor shown to be a fraud

By Luo Wangshu (China Daily) Updated: 2012-07-30 07:16

A man assumed the academic identity of a Yale University assistant professor who has the same name as him for several months.

Lu Jun joined Beijing University of Chemical Technology as a professor in November. His resume listed seven articles published by top English-language academic journals, including Nature, Development Cell and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But the articles were the work of an assistant professor at Yale University whose name is written as Lu Jun in pinyin, the system for transcribing Chinese characters into Latin script, and English, but in Chinese characters the names were written differently.

"Those seven publications listed on his website were indeed my work," Lu at Yale wrote in an e-mail to the well-known academic-fraud blogger Fang Zhouzi. "The two of us are not the same person. Our Chinese names are spelled the same (in English), but with different characters."

China Daily was unable to contact the Yale professor on Sunday. However, according to information on the university's website, Lu Jun is an assistant professor of genetics. He received his PhD from Boston University in 2003.

According to a notice posted on the Beijing college's website on Saturday, Lu Jun forged his postdoctoral research experience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also stolen from his namesake. He has been dismissed, the notice said.

Lu had been a candidate for the Thousand Talents Program, also known as the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, which recruits top overseas scholars to work in China.

The program provides large research funding and other research opportunities to participants. Aside from the fraudulent Lu, 217 scholars have been selected as candidates for the program.

According to the campus chronicle of Beijing University of Chemical Technology in March, Lu Jun was the first member of its faculty selected as a candidate for the program.

The program committee issued an online statement on Friday saying Lu has been removed from the candidate list, less than three hours after the forgery was exposed by Fang Zhouzi.

Fang continued to investigate Lu's education background and previous work experience, saying that Lu also stole a PhD degree from University of Toronto from someone else of the same name.

Fang said that the real Lu Jun, who received his PhD degree from University of Toronto in 2004, is originally from Taiwan.

Fang is uncertain whether Lu stole the third Lu Jun's work experience at Merck & Co, a pharmacy company in the United States.

"Lu has stolen his education, work experience and publications from three different people of the same name, which is kind of creative," Fang wrote in his micro blog.

He praised the talents' program committee for its quick response.

Lu is the second professor who has been dismissed because of fraud in the past week.

The other is Fu Jin, former medical professor from Xiamen University, who forged her PhD diploma from Columbia University.

An associate professor at Peking University, Liu Yunshan, said the reason behind academic fraud is the overheated value of "fancy degrees."

"Many people seek fancy degrees for the superficial value of certificates while ignoring the real value of education," she said.

Che Weimin, an official at the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, said it is essential to establish a reliable qualification recognition system, adding that all overseas degrees must be verified by the Ministry of Education.

Yi Shenghua, a Beijing lawyer at Yingke Law Firm, said it is hard to say whether Lu will face a criminal charge of fraud because there is no clear evidence to show Lu directly financially benefited from the fraud.

"Academic fraud is a question of personal morality, but criminal fraud is a harsh accusation that must be supported by solid evidence of financial gain from cheating," Yi added.

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