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May 12, 2010

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Fudan ex-dean tried for embezzling

A DISTINGUISHED IT expert who held many important positions in the country is now a suspect in an embezzlement scandal, which may demote him from professor to prisoner.

Zhang Shiyong, the former dean of Fudan University's School of Computer Science, was caught in the alleged misappropriation of 2.18 million yuan (US$319,180) three months after he took the post.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard the case on Monday but didn't hand down a verdict.

Zhang had been awarded a national model-worker medal and 20 scientific research prizes, and was granted a special government allowance for his outstanding academic performance: 20 books, 100 national and city-level research programs, and 500 papers published by domestic and international journals.

He held such important positions as the director of the China Internet Association and deputy director of China Information Industry Chamber's Information Security Branch.

But the outstanding work and duties which brought him glory also caught him up in trouble.

As a pioneer in the transfer of academic fruits into production, he was accused of funneling massive amounts of money from Fudan Guanghua Information Technology Co, where he worked as the general manager. The firm was run by Fudan University and based on a research team led by Zhang.

Zhang allegedly embezzled the money collected by Fudan Guanghua's staff to buy shares of the company.

He was detained by police in August 2008, three months after he was appointed as dean of the university's school of computer science.

Prosecutors charged him with embezzlement last May. The court has held three hearings. The first trial on June 11 was forced to stop after Zhang fainted in court.

During the latest 40-minute hearing on Monday, Zhang pled not guilty and said his action was not against the law. The court disclosed no further details.

On trial with Zhang was Zhong Yiping, also a former professor in Fudan University.


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