China whistleblower Fang Zhouzi was mugged after his criticism of a Chinese hospital. 'I’ve had threatening phone calls and e-mails before, but this was the first time I have been attacked,' he says.
A bungled attack on a whistleblower famous for his exposés of fraud and pseudoscience has drawn fresh attention to the vexed issues of academic dishonesty and popular gullibility in China.
Fang Zhouzi, a popular science writer and blogger, was assaulted by two men as he walked to his Beijing home Sunday evening; one sprayed a chemical in his face, the other beat him with a hammer. He was only slightly injured and was released from hospital later Sunday night.
“I’ve had threatening phone calls and e-mails before, but this was the first time I have been attacked,” Mr. Fang said in a telephone interview.
The anticorruption activist has been involved recently in a number of high profile cases, most notably questioning a claim by a former president of Microsoft China that he had earned his PhD from the prestigious California Institute of Technology.
Tang Jun, who had listed his degree as an achievement in a book recounting his success in business, later acknowledged that his PhD actually came from Pacific Western University in California. That institution was a diploma mill that sold academic credentials and required no classroom instruction, according to a 2004 report by the US Government Accountability Office.
In a number of recent blog posts, Fang also poured skepticism on celebrity Taoist sage Li Yi, who claims extraordinary feats of prowess and counts pop stars and business luminaries among his disciples. Mr. Li stepped down from his public positions Saturday, in the wake of accusations against him of rape and tax evasion.