BEIJING — Chinese academia has a widely acknowledged deficit in ethics and integrity. As part of President Xi Jinping's broader national battle against corruption, Caixin reports that the Chinese Ministry of Education has published a draft law that identifies seven forms of academic misconduct.
Here's the list in the bill presented last week: plagiarism; tampering with the research of others; the falsification of data, information, documents or notes; the fabrication of facts or research results; putting one's signature on papers one didn't publish or participate in; using paid papers written by others; or paying to publish in international journals.
The preliminary text stipulates that a guilty party would face punishments such as demotion, dismissal, or expulsion in accordance with the nature and seriousness of their misconduct. According to Caixin, data from China's National Natural Science Foundation, an institution for the management of the National Natural Science Fund aimed at promoting and financing research, shows that between 2010 and 2013 the foundations' oversight committee alone dealt with more than 80 cases of improper behavior, which involved such leading research institutions as the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Tianjin University.
Still, many Chinese scholars believe that the real source of academic malfeasance is actually the suffocating presence of the state itself in universities, which has led to rise in brain drain. Xiao Han, associate professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that only with true autonomy can Chinese academic institutes develop properly. "Such conditions are necessary for academia to be able to establish the norms of professional ethics and self-discipline," Xiao explained.
No doubt, there is plenty of studying left to do.