A recent Ministry of Science study of 180 PhD candidates in China found that 60 percent admitted plagiarizing, and the same percentage admitted paying bribes to get their work published.
"The actual situation might be worse than that, particularly in the area of social sciences," says Fang Zhouzi, a biochemist who splits his time between California and Beijing, and runs a website that has detailed more than 500 cases of serious academic fraud in China.
Mr. Fang is one of the feistiest whistle-blowers - wellknown and also feared in Chinese academic circles. Fang, whose real name is Fang Shi-min, is an Old Testament angel of vengeance when it comes to lying and cheating, and his work has led to a number of high-level fraud exposures and dismissals in the academic world.
His investigations have exposed:
• Yang Jingan of Hefei Industry University, who was expelled from the communist party after Fang disclosed plagiarized essays from foreign academic journals;
• Liu Hui, dean of the Medical School of Tsinghua University, who was dismissed after Fang found that Liu falsely claimed to have been director of medical research at New York University;
• Yang Jie, dean of biology at Tongji University in Shanghai, who was dismissed after admitting to having a falsified résumé.
In the computer chip case, it was an assistant that exposed Mr. Chen. Evidently fearful of being implicated in what was proving a fruitless mission, the assistant posted on Jan. 17 an exposé on the Xinhua bulletin board.
On May 12, Shanghai's Jiaotong University, where Chen is based, stated the Hanxin, or "Chinese heart chip," was a DSP 56800E, by Motorola. The University promptly fired Chen. The chip on display in Shanghai at the festive 2003 chip launch, attended by top officials, was a painted piece of metal, it was revealed.