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China profs arrested for stealing science research funds

Chinese authorities have jailed two science researchers and arrested four others following a discovery that they siphoned government research funds totaling over 25 million yuan ($4 million) for their personal benefit.
 
Professor Chen Yingxu from Zhejiang University and professor Song Maoqiang from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications were both sentenced to jail for diverting state scientific research funds with fraudulent projects, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China’s top anti-graft watchdog.

Four other researchers were arrested on the same charges. Among them were Li Ning (photo), a leading scientist for trans-gene biology research at the Chinese University of Agriculture, Li Pengtao and his wife Wang Xinyue, two professors from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, and Wang Fu, a PhD student under Li Pengtao’s supervision.

Li could be stripped of his academic credentials by the Chinese Academy of Engineering because of his misconduct, the first penalty of its kind in China, reports said.

An audit by the National Audit Office in 2012 uncovered the massive embezzlement scandal, triggering subsequent investigations by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which manages the research funds. The ministry punished eight people involved in the scandal, including those arrested and jailed.

Among them, Pan Suiming, a sociologist and sexologist from Renmin University, received administrative punishment. Song’s colleague Zou Hua who conspired with Song in the embezzlement was not charged.

Sources: Xinhua News, South China Morning Post, Beijing Times (京华时报), Southern Metropolis Daily (南方都市

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Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.

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