BEIJING – Chinese universities are plagued with corruption. Last November, the clique around Cai Rongsheng at Renmin University got busted. The 48-years old ‘Chief of the Student Admissions Office’ tried to flee China from an airport in Shenzhen with a fake passport and a wish for Canada.
As the South China Morning Post reported, Mr. Cai allegedly embezzled “hundreds of millions of yuan.” He wasn’t a lone wolf. A senior secretary, Hu Juan, came under investigation too. Hu was close to the former president of Renmin University, Ji Baocheng. Mr. Cai apparently left a note in which he accused Ji Baocheng of fraud. Mr. Ji had been tipped off for corruption before, back in 2010, but was not investigated.
Fighting Flies and Tigers
The new government led by president Xi Jinping pledged to “go after flies and tigers” – (yao jianchi laohu, cangying, yiqi da). Recent prominent ‘fly’ cases involved Guo Youming, a vice governor of central Hubei province, Xu Jie, a deputy head of the national petitions office, and Liu Tienan, a former deputy head of China’s top planning agency. All were removed from offices, the Shenzhen Daily reported.
The most prominent ‘tiger’ cases of 2013 involved Bo Xilai, the former politburo member and governor of Chongqing; and the gang around Liu Zhijun, the former railway minister, which include Bai Zhongren, president of China Railway Group Ltd. (who jumped from a building and died on Jan. 4); and Ma Junfei, the vice director for railway in Inner Mongolia. According to state media, over 108,000 officials were caught in China’s anti-corruption web between January and December 2013.
Elite Universities in the Focus
Peking University, the mother lode of Chinese education, recently expelled Xia Yeliang, an economics professor and advocate for democracy. The school terminated his contract over his bad conduct and poor teaching quality. Mr. Xia retaliated in a notorious interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he accuses the sages of routinely falsifying invoices and misappropriating research funds.
Here’s a quote from WSJ: “Some 70% of research funds, he [Mr. Xia] says, goes to personal use—"travel, hotels, meals, computers, mobile phones, iPads, printers, all things you can imagine […]"
State media reports that the government is closely investigating the entire ‘C9 League’ – the alliance of China nine top universities. Xi Jinping’s massive crackdown on corruption has finally reached the ivory towers.
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