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Youthful city mayor accused of plagiarism

ZHOU Senfeng got his baptism in political controversy when he was elected mayor of a city in Hubei Province on Sunday.

Many Netizens wrote that Zhou, who turns 29 in July, is too young and inexperienced to hold the post in Yicheng.

Now he's catching flak on a new front. He's been accused of plagiarism in connection with a thesis he wrote in 2004 while pursuing a master's degree at the prestigious Tsinghua University.

The charge was posted on Tuesday on the bulletin board service of, China's biggest search engine. It claimed he lifted nearly half of his paper on the Chinese real estate industry from an essay published in 2002.

Another post by an anonymous Netizen published what is purported to be Zhou's thesis and the essay, concluding that the two are very similar.

Neither the Yicheng government nor Zhou replied to the accusations.

According to the online postings, the main body of Zhou's thesis contained about 5,500 words but carried no attributions. Six articles, including the 2002 article, were listed separately as reference sources.

Some Netizens said they were more concerned about Zhou's future performance than his past, but many more were angry and called for a thorough probe.

"No one can guarantee that an official who committed plagiarism will be honest in carrying out his duties," wrote one Internet user.

Zhou's appointment sparked a nationwide controversy with many implying he had been given the job as a result of family connections.

But further investigation showed that Zhou and his wife were from ordinary families.

Zhou's father works at a kiln while his father-in-law was an accountant, but is currently unemployed.


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