A Candid Look at China's Shameless Academicians

By Liu Fusan, Special to The Epoch Times
July 23, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: July 23, 2005 12:00 am

The following is an excerpt from People's Daily Net:

"It seems that most people are not aware of the inside story behind China's academicians (Editor's note: Academician is a full Member of the National Academy of Science in those countries where the Academy has a strong influence on national scientific life, particularly countries that were part of, or influenced by, the Soviet Union). In order to successfully 'package' an academician, the Research Center (or Institute, University etc.) needs to spend a minimum of 3 to 6 million yuan (approximately US$363,000–726,000) on "public relations." Around 500,000 to 1 million yuan is used to bribe current academicians to recommend you and evaluate your achievements. Another 1 to 2 million yuan is used to make a good advertising package for your achievements and yet another 500,000 to 1 million yuan is used to advertise the candidate's special accomplishments. The related application fee for the process is also around 1 to 2 million yuan."

One cannot help but wonder why the unit is willing to spend so much money to groom an academician? Let us now look at the benefits an academician can bring to himself and his place of employment.

Every year, an academician receives an average of 3 million yuan (approximately US$363,000) from organizations such as the Ministry of Science and Technology, State Natural Sciences Foundation, Ministry of Education, local governments and other related departments."

The annual income of an academician is between 120,000 and 180,000 yuan (approximately US$14,500–21,765). A local academician (excluding Beijing) can expect an annual government subsidy of 100,000 –120,000 yuan (approximately US$12,091–14,510). Their extra annual income, including part time jobs, could reach 80,000 to 100,000 yuan (approximately US$9,673–12,091). Every month, an academician participates in at least 10 appraisal conferences, charging 1000 yuan in speaker's fees. With money involved, they can give whatever kind of "good" appraisal [required by those in attendance]. Of course, if the project is really bad, they could find an excuse to not go to that meeting. They also receive an income of around 200,000 yuan (approximately US$24,183) through research projects they are involved in. Normally, an academician will get about 2 percent of the total research grant. Overall, an academician's annual income is at least 600,000 yuan (approximately US$72,551)."

Academicians also enjoy many benefits. Around 50 to 60 days of their working time are spent touring abroad in the name of academic exchange; while about 100 days are spent traveling within the country to attend symposiums and project evaluations. Today, an academician enjoys more freedom than a government official, a higher status than the upper class, and is wealthier than most taxpayers. But have they contributed anything to the nation and its people? The National Nature and Invention First Award that gauges our country's research development has been absent for many years. In terms of scientific and technological innovation, the academicians today pale in comparison with the scientists of the Mao era. This is a sad thing for the Chinese people. We despise these so-called academicians."


The above was posted on the People's Daily Net, a mouthpiece for the CCP. Despite knowing that the academic arena in China is not untainted, I was shocked by the extent of its corruption. I admire the courage of the editor and the person who posted this message – I hope that they will not get into trouble.

However, I disagree with the statement, "…academicians today pale in comparison to the scientists during the Mao era." The decline of science and technology in China is precisely the consequence of Mao's evil acts. During the "Mao era," the innovations that occurred were produced by people nurtured by the KMT, and had nothing to do with Mao.

World-class physicists such as Wu Jianxiong and Lee Zhengdao were then known as "number one talented scholars." Among these figures, Professor Shu Xingbei was the most outstanding, yet during Mao's time, he ended up washing toilets.

Lee Zhengdao said that he was very grateful to have Shu Xingbei, Wu Dayou and Fermi as mentors. Under the CCP, Shu Xingbei was branded a "counterrevolutionary" and suffered humiliation. In contrast, under the KMT, Wu Dayou became the dean of the Central Academy, and even nurtured a Noble prize winner.

The students of Shu Xingbei such as Wu Jianxiong and Lee Zhengdao became highly accomplished scientists in the world community, whereas Xu Liangying, who stayed in China, was branded a rightist– the factor responsible for their different fates for being within the evil clutches of Mao.