China / Hot Issues

University set to investigate video plagiarism allegations

By SU ZHOU (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-01 07:29

Fudan University in Shanghai is to investigate allegations of plagiarism surrounding a promotional video, saying it will be held accountable based on the result.

A statement on the university's micro blog on Sunday said the producers of the video, To My Light, have been accused of plagiarism.

"This has had a negative impact on society, damaged Fudan's reputation and hurt people's feelings. ... We sincerely apologize for this," the statement added.

It also said the university will invite industry experts, alumni and representatives of teachers and students to join the investigation.

The four-minute video was produced by the university to mark its 110th anniversary. Featuring science fiction elements and personal accounts, it was released on Wednesday on the university's website, other social media platforms and on the Internet.

However, it was later accused by Internet users of plagiarizing a publicity video titled Explorer produced by the University of Tokyo last year.

Teng Yudong, producer of the Fudan video and deputy director of the university's Publicity Department, denied the plagiarism accusations.

Later, in an interview with The Paper website in Shanghai, Teng said, "The team looked at Tokyo University's publicity video regarding its narrative approach and expression since we began shooting in April, as the two have a similar theme."

To My Light features a female flight engineer who is also a former Fudan student wearing a flight uniform to visit the university. Explorer depicts a female astronaut in a spacesuit exploring the University of Tokyo.

Both videos have scenes featuring library shelves, ancient documents, fish bowls and dancing at a party, and both end with the heroine removing her helmet.

To My Light was replaced by another video on Thursday afternoon, but parts of this have also been accused by netizens of plagiarizing ideas used in a promotional video produced by Technische Universitaet Muenchen, a German research university.

Yan Feng, a Chinese-language professor at Fudan University, said after watching the two videos, "I can find no place to hide myself in shame."

Li Xiaoxiao, a student from Fuzhou, Fujian province, majoring in law at Fudan University, said: "I don't think plagiarism is personal opinion-it has to be supported by evidence. Many people asked me about this, but I am still very objective on this issue. I wouldn't say I am ashamed."

Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said the case shows that Chinese universities don't have a mature crisis management system.

"The disappointment over Fudan is not only about plagiarism, but also over the way in which it gives feedback," Xiong said. "If the university can set up an independent team to handle this issue, its reputation will survive the crisis."

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