Chinese Internet users are clamoring for details regarding an alleged sex scandal that has tarnished the image of one of the country's top universities.
Zou Hengfu,a former professor of economics at Peking University.[File photo]
Last week, a microblogger identifying himself as Zou Hengfu, a former professor of economics at Peking University, claimed in a microblog post that his former colleagues had regularly sexually harassed hostesses at a restaurant they frequent.
Zou claimed that deans and directors would "always do that" after having meals at the Mengtaoyuan Restaurant, located close to the university's hospital. However, Zou did not reveal their identities or provide any evidence.
The post was forwarded and commented on thousands of times over within a day of going online, creating a scandal that has impacted both Zou and the university.
Peking University spokesman Jiang Langlang responded to the claim last Thursday and promised to open internal disciplinary investigations.
A preliminary report was issued on Monday saying that none of Zou's allegations could be confirmed and asking Zou to provide further evidence.
The university said it has failed to establish contact with Zou, despite its best efforts. Zou responded by blaming the university for not listening to him.
Although Zou's accusation is vague at best, it is considered to be truthful by some Chinese netizens. A poll of 1,927 people on Sina Weibo, a twitter-like popular microblogging site, revealed that 40.6 percent of respondents believe Zou's story.
Weibo users have noted that Zou's account has been verified and tied to his real identity, adding that it is not likely that a public figure would risk his or her reputation by making false accusations.
Some users have asked the university to prove the innocence of its faculty, although other voices have challenged the credibility of Zou's claims.
Pang Congrong, a Beijing-based book editor, said it is hard to tell whether the allegations are true or not, adding that she does not believe her friends who work at the university would engage in such behavior.
Professor Xie Danyang at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said that if the charges prove false, they will damage Zou's reputation.
However, if they are true, the damage would be wider, Xie said.
"The charges are likely true, considering Professor Zou uses his real name. But is PKU still a university we should feel proud of?" wrote "jiangshuidongshi."