Massive peer-reviewed fraud

Source: Science (7/31/17)
China cracks down after investigation finds massive peer-review fraud
By Dennis Normile

Springer retracted 107 papers from Tumor Biology in April. Emily Petersen

A massive peer-review fraud has triggered a tough response from the Chinese government. Officials last week announced that more than 400 researchers listed as authors on some 100 now-retracted papers will face disciplinary action because their misconduct has seriously damaged China’s scientific reputation.

Some institutions have barred the scientists linked to the fraud from pursuing their research—at least temporarily. And they have imposed other penalties, including canceling promotions, honors, and grants. Government ministries have also announced new “zero tolerance” policies aimed at stamping out research fraud. “We should eradicate the problem from its roots,” said He Defang, director of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MOST’s) regulatory division in Beijing. Continue reading

China’s made-up masculinity crisis (1)

RE: 男孩危機: “To prepare for the examinations a boy began at age seven or so and in about six years memorized the 4 books and 5 classics, which totaled 431,000 characters…memoriz[ing] a passage of 200 characters a day…The examination system took a man over a dozen hurdles in the space of 20 or 30 years.  Those who emerged from it had lived an examination life so concentrated on the classical literature that they had made themselves a race apart.  Scholars were typically unmuscular, aesthetically refined, and spoke a language intelligible only to their kind, a small elite trained in the principles of bureaucratic government” (Fairbank, The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800-1985: 28, 27).

Nick Kaldis <>

China’s made-up masculinity crisis

Source: Sixth Tone (7/30/17)
‘Save Our Boys’: China’s Made-up Masculinity Crisis
Critics, parents, and educators all claim that China’s schoolboys aren’t manly enough, without seeing the gender bias in their arguments.
By Zeng Yuli (Zeng Yuli is a freelance writer focusing on Chinese youth culture)

Students take part in eye exercises at a high school classroom in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, June 4, 2007. Xiao En/VCG

China’s annual college entrance examination, the gaokao, took place last month. Although many provincial ministries of education discourage people from drawing attention to the nation’s top scorers, such admonitions cannot completely quash public interest. People are curious about not only the identities of the top scorers, but also gender: Are the girls scoring higher, or the boys?

According to statistics published online, over the last 40 years of gaokao examinations, boys accounted for 56 percent of all top scorers in China’s 31 provinces. At first glance, this would imply that boys generally have the edge over girls. However, if we look at statistics from just the last decade, the proportion of female top scorers jumps to 53 percent, giving them a clear majority. Continue reading

Chinese threat to Australian openness

Source: NYT (7/31/17)
The Opinion Pages: OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
A Chinese Threat to Australian Openness

Students in a university classroom in Beijing. Credit in Pictures Ltd./Corbis, via Getty Images

SYDNEY, Australia — Australians are increasingly concerned about China’s growing influence in the country. Chinese money is being funneled to politicians. Beijing-run media outlets buy ads in Australian newspapers to promote the Communist Party view on local and regional issues. Chinese companies are buying Australian farms and natural resources.

The push extends to Australia’s universities. Chinese agents are said to monitor Chinese students and report on those who fail to toe the Communist Party line. And in another troubling trend, many of the 150,000 visiting Chinese students are importing a pro-Beijing approach to the classroom that is stifling debate and openness. Continue reading

High school pupils make LGBT film

Source: SCMP (7/24/17)
Chinese high school pupils make a film tackling LGBT issues
Team of 37 youngsters produces, directs and stars in movie designed to raise public awareness of ‘widely ignored’ group
By Eva Li

A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported.

The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a high school-age boy who thinks of himself as a girl, as he tries to come to terms with his emotions with the help of his friends, Beijing Youth Daily reported. Continue reading

Films and literature on formal education (1,2)

I think the novel Triple Door (三重门) by Han Han may be a good choice, though it hasn’t been translated into English.

Laura Lettere <>


I can suggest ‘Village Middle School’ a documentary by Tammy Cheung:

It is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the life in this school.

Sophia Woodman <>

Migrant children losing their schools

Source: Caixin (7/10/17)
Migrant Children Losing Their Schools
By Huang Ziyi and Li Rongde

In Beijing's Changping district, many schools that are open to migrant children are being forced to move as the municipality slates the illegal structures for demolition. Some school officials still do not know where their schools will move to, or even if they will be open at all. Photo: Huang Ziyi/Caixin

In Beijing’s Changping district, many schools that are open to migrant children are being forced to move as the municipality slates the illegal structures for demolition. Some school officials still do not know where their schools will move to, or even if they will be open at all. Photo: Huang Ziyi/Caixin

(Beijing) — Thousands of children from rural migrant families may be in education limbo after the summer holidays as their schools face imminent closure amid a government crackdown on slums in Beijing’s Changping district.

Zhiquan school in the village of Dongsanqi, which has classes from grades one through six, has been earmarked for demolition at the end of July, said Qin Jijie, the school’s principal. The cleanup that affects hundreds of villages on the fringes is part of a plan to increase the forest cover surrounding the city, according to Beijing municipal authorities. Continue reading

Why overseas academics are loath to return to China

Source: Sixth Tone (7/3/17)
Why China’s Overseas Academics Are Loath to Return Home
With more favorable advancement opportunities at Western universities, China must re-evaluate how it plans to bring its best and brightest back.
By Nina Huang, a journalist based in New York City.

A Chinese Ph.D. student talks to employers at a job fair in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Oct. 24, 2009. An Xin/VCG

For overseas Chinese Ph.D. students on the fence about whether they should return home for a faculty position or stay abroad, the rigidity of China’s higher education institutions often spooks them into choosing the latter.

Thirty-five-year-old Chen Weiqiang, now an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at New York University (NYU), would have loved to go back to his alma mater, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, for a faculty position. But he gave up an offer of an associate professor’s position in 2014 when he learned about the structure of promotion there. Continue reading

Informants in the classroom

Source: Forbes (6/28/17)
Chinese Informants In The Classroom: Pedagogical Strategies
By Andrs Corr

Children play chess on a giant chess board at a primary school in Handan in China’s northern Hebei province on June 19, 2017. The ‘live’ chess game was played by 32 students to promote chess at the school. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

For about a month, the media has reported on Chinese influence in Australian politics and universities. The news led to discussions among China experts on the role of government-linked Chinese student organizations that allegedly monitor and report on Chinese student speech in the classroom, and pedagogical strategies to encourage safe spaces for the intellectual growth of Chinese students abroad. These pedagogical antidotes include the banning of government-linked Chinese student organizations, free speech activists seeking to join Chinese student organizations, anonymous student classroom participation groups, mandatory debating team assignments on “sensitive” topics, and frank classroom discussions of student speech monitoring by Chinese authorities. Continue reading

Universities teach how to go viral

Source: Taipei Times (6/21/17)
In China, universities teach how to go viral online
Young and streaming savvy entrepreneurs, known as ‘wanghong,’ now represent an industry worth billions in a country with 700 million smartphone users
By Albee Zhang  /  AFP, Shanghai

Jiang Mengna live broadcasts in March during a break at the Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China. Photot: AFP

A 21-year-old student walked around her campus in China using invaluable skills she learned in class: Holding a selfie stick aloft, she livestreamed her random thoughts and blew kisses at her phone.

Jiang Mengna is majoring in “modelling and etiquette” at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College near Shanghai, aspiring to join the growing ranks of young Chinese cashing in on internet stardom. Continue reading

Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality

Source: Sup China (6/2017)
Gaokao essay topic exposes urban-rural inequality in China
By Jiayun Feng

It has been almost two weeks since this year’s gaokao (高考 gāokǎo — the nationwide college entrance examination) ended on June 8, but millions of participants are awaiting their test results and the grueling examinations are still a popular conversation topic. Earlier this week, a commentary (in Chinese) by a middle-school teacher in Hubei Province went viral on the Chinese internet. The author argues that an essay question in seven provinces, including Hebei, Hunan, and Guangdong, treats students in rural areas unfairly by including concepts that they are unfamiliar with. Continue reading

protest over school dispute

Source: US News and World Report (6/14/17)
Beijing Protesters in Rare Clash With Police Over School Dispute
By Yawen Chen and Thomas Peter


Police detain people during a protest denouncing a local authoritiy’s decision to reassign their children to an undesired school in Beijing, China June 14, 2017. REUTERS /Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – About a hundred protesters clashed on Wednesday with police in downtown Beijing after authorities abruptly reassigned their children to a school in a rough neighborhood, a rare display of public anger in the Chinese capital.

Large protests are rare in heavily-guarded and affluent Beijing, but the reassignment plan comes at a time when educational resources have become increasingly stretched, while home prices have soared. Continue reading

Can free speech withstand Chinese nationalism

Source: China File (5/25/17)
Can Free Speech on American Campuses Withstand Chinese Nationalism?

The ChinaFile Conversation is a weekly, real-time discussion of China news, from a group of the world’s leading China experts.

Earlier this week, Kunming native Yang Shuping, a student at the University of Maryland, gave a commencement speech extolling the “fresh air” and “free speech” she experienced while studying in the United States. Video of her speech spread on the Internet, and Yang and her family found themselves under attack by fellow Chinese students in the U.S. and a chorus of critics on Chinese social media, who argued—at times viciously—that she had betrayed her country. Yang then apologized for the speech and asked for “forgiveness from the public.” Why was she attacked? What do her speech and the reaction it engendered reveal (or obscure) about the experiences of Chinese students on American campuses, and what do they portend for the future of academic freedom in the U.S.? To what extent is Chinese nationalism reshaping university life in America? —The Editors


Yifu Dong

I’m not surprised that Yang Shuping had to apologize in the face of severe nationalistic backlash against her speech. The following is part of the speech I would have given at my graduation, if Yale was not so obviously anti-Chinese to let me freely express myself on the podium during its two-hour Class Day ceremony. I regret missing an opportunity to garner respect from like-minded Chinese netizens and set an example for all future Chinese students who are tasked with the sacred duty of nationalistic speech-giving in paper tiger imperialist regimes. Continue reading

US universities in China

Source: Asia Society (5/19/17)
Podcast: American Universities in China — Free Speech Bastions or Threat to Academic Freedom?
By Eric Fish

A student walks past the entrance to New York University’s Shanghai campus. (Eric Fish/Asia Society)

The Asia In-Depth podcast provides deep audio analysis on everything from China’s economy to “honor killing” in Pakistan. See the complete episode archive.Learn more

In 1986, Johns Hopkins University opened a study center in Nanjing University, making it the first American institution of higher education allowed to establish a physical presence in China during the Communist era. Since then, dozens of other institutions have followed suit, armed with guarantees that they can maintain the same standards of free speech and academic freedom that they enjoy in the U.S. … so long as those freedoms stop at the university door. Continue reading

Xiamen University Malaysia

Source: Caixin (5/15/17)
First-Ever Overseas Campus by a Chinese University Taps Into Belt and Road Opportunities
By Ma Yanyan and Li Rongde

Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, in the country's Selangor state, is the first overseas campus to be set up by a renowned Chinese university and the first Chinese university branch campus in Malaysia. Photo: Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, in the country’s Selangor state, is the first overseas campus to be set up by a renowned Chinese university and the first Chinese university branch campus in Malaysia. Photo: Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

(Beijing) – Construction at the first-ever overseas campus built by a Chinese university, Xiamen University Malaysia, is nearing its halfway mark.

The school says it has tapped into opportunities created under the Belt and Road Initiative, and had enrolled nearly 2,000 students by the end of April. Continue reading