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Professors sue over Web insults

TWO professors at the center of an academic scandal are suing their former teachers who exposed their plagiarism on the Internet, blaming them for sabotaging their reputation.

Professor Li Liansheng and Shu Pengcheng's lawyer told Xi'an Beilin District People's Court on Thursday that the six senior professors used insulting phrases such as "academic thief" and "rat on campus" in their posts on a Website about Li and Shu.

They demanded the six professors make a public apology and pay, respectively, 150,000 yuan (US$21,957) and 120,000 yuan in compensation, yesterday's China Youth Daily reported.

Li, a professor at Xi'an Jiaotong University, is an honored Cheung Kong Scholar, an award funded by Hong Kong millionaire Li Ka-shing and Ministry of Education designed to honor talented professors in Chinese universities. Shu has been vice principal of Xi'an Jiaotong University for more than 10 years.

The two were awarded the second award in the 2005 National Science and Technology Progress Award.

Yang Shaokan, one of Li's colleagues, thought there was something odd because the research for which Li won the award was not in his field.

Yang shared his doubts with five other professors including Yu Yongzhang, Chen Yongjiang, Feng Quanke, and Qu Zongchang.

All were highly respected professors in Li's major and also taught Li when he was a student.

The six professors claimed that Li had copied his research. A kind of compressor that Li and Shu used in their application for the national award had won the same award in 1998. That compressor was invented by a factory in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, the professors told the newspaper.

The professors brought their doubts to the university authorities, but officials were reluctant to punish Li and Shu for fear that might hurt the university's reputation.

The professors then posted their charges against Li and Shu on, a Website famous for exposing academic scandals.

Professor Shu accused the professors of economic motives as they were all employed in companies competing with his company. The case will continue on July 31.


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