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July 12, 2010

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Prof faces plagiarism charge

A UNIVERSITY professor is at the center of a plagiarism scandal after he was accused of copying from books written by Western researchers in his doctoral dissertation.

Zhu Xueqin, a history professor at Shanghai University, denied the online accusation after a newspaper report about the controversy and said he would write back to refute the accusation soon.

School officials said they were aware of the allegation and would study it, but no action has been taken so far.

A popular online post said Zhu's doctoral dissertation "The Collapse of Moral Utopia" had copied from several overseas books including "Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue" by American scholar Carol Blum.

Zhu said that he had listed the book in his references and made annotations.

He said the person accusing him of plagiarism should reveal his or her identity. If so, Zhu said he would be willing to talk with the person.

The online poster goes by the name "Isaiah" and is a PhD student, but has thus far declined to reveal his or her true identity, according to Oriental Morning Post.

Isaiah said Zhu copied lengthy paragraphs without attributions and listed many detailed examples. Moreover, Zhu copied the book's main idea, context, examples and structure, Isaiah alleges.

Zhu got his PhD degree in 1992 and his doctoral dissertation was published in 1994.

Isaiah said that Zhu may not be guilty of plagiarism according to academic norms at that time, but that he would surely be guilty if he had published it today.

Similar academic plagiarism scandals occurred in recent years.

Wang Mingming, a professor at Peking University, was accused of copying a book by an American researcher in 2002. The university ceased his recruitment of doctoral students.

Shanghai's Fudan University canceled Xu Yan's associate professor title last February after plagiarism lawsuits were filed against her.


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