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VIII-5 Question: The South Korean cloning scandal was responsible for the downfall of "scientist" Hwang Woo-suk and devastated the national R&D progress to some extent there. In 2006, China's academic authority was also occasionally challenged by similar dishonorable incidents. What measures will the Chinese government take to curb these misdemeanors in the future?

A: In order to curb academic scandals, scientific review panels have been organized in a number of countries to justify authenticity in newly reported science and technology results, and to regulate relevant R&D activities. Until recently, China's science and technology development had made remarkable achievements. However, improprieties occurred when a few people, eager to make a quick buck, falsified and fabricated data, going against ethical codes and the spirit of science. Others blindly carried out sci-tech programs in large quantities instead of paying attention to quality monitoring. Relevant governmental departments are required to oversee these exposed scandals, and to curb further irregularities.

In December 2006, China's Ministry of Science released a document that took effect on January 1, 2007, in which punishments were detailed to eradicate the bedrock of academic corruption under rule of law. Irregularities as follow were included: making false data and information in qualification, resume and research work; stealing and plagiarizing academic results, or falsifying and fabricating experimental results; ignoring the public's right to know and protection over privacy as far as research work on human body parts are concerned; conducting inhumane research and study on animals for experiments. Those who violate these five rules will be prohibited from working, warned, or publicly criticized, and they are required to correct their mistakes in a stipulated period of time. Records of wrongdoings will be kept, and there will be a suspension of reapplication or registration, or confiscation of state expenditure on the project. Also, research staff that gets involved will be punished by demotion or expulsion.

By the joint effort of six Chinese ministerial departments, a joint committee system has been established to provide the public with a more convenient and authoritative counseling and prosecuting channel for supervision and coordination. A research credit office has also been set up specially to investigate academic irregularities. Research on sci-tech can be extremely complicated, and thus the results are hard to test in most cases. China therefore invited experts from within the country and abroad to organize a 15-member review panel that will hold hearings to uncover the truth by collective discussion and deliberation. Scientific experiments are also held if evidence is required.

It is a headache shared by scientific fields in different countries to investigate and solve academic irregularities. However, history has also shown that a number of undeserved punishments have been meted out duo to unreversed wrong decisions. To avoid such tragedies, the Chinese Government is dedicated to implementing rules that can regulate legal procedures on prosecution, acceptance, and investigations into such discredits.


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