Tang Jun Fake PhD Scandal Escalates, May Involve Other Leaders

Tang Jun Fake PhD Scandal Escalates, May Involve Other Leaders
Jul 16, 2010 Translated by eChinacities.com

Tang Jun is pictured here, in a video still posted by Fang Zhouzi, talking about his “invention” – the scoring-keeping karaoke machine

Tang Jun presents the media with diploma from Pacific Western University certifying his PhD in electrical engineering. Fang Zhouzi pointed out that Pacific Western had been investigated and disbanded for selling sham credentials.

Tang Jun, former president of Microsoft China Co., Ltd. and current CEO of Xinhuadu Industrial Group Co., Ltd. has been a hot topic on Chinese internet forums lately, after science writer Fang Zhouzi alleged that Tang’s doctorate credentials are fake. In an interview with China National Radio, Tang publicly responded to the allegations for the first time, but Fang and others have refuted his claims. Chinese netizens have sprung into action, and an alumni list for America’s Pacific Western University now circulating in forums shows Tang may not be the only Chinese company leader to have gotten their degree from the institution. Pacific Western University has been investigated for fraud related to the sale of fake credentials.

Are Tang Jun's PhD credentials credible?
"First, he (Fang Zhouzi) set up this hypothesis about me, and then proceeded to prove that I wasn't what I said I was," Tang told reporters. "So really, he's setting up for himself to be proved and to disprove me, and I can't prove him wrong in that respect. I hope that people will understand this."

The controversy over Tang Jun's credentials was spurred by a post on science writer Fang Zhouzi’s microblog that accused Tang of having a fake doctorate in computer science from the California Institute of Technology. On July 1st, Fang wrote on his blog that, “a search of the California Institute of Technology alumni list of doctorates that majored in computer science does not turn up Tang Jun, nor anyone surnamed Tang. Papers authored by Tang cannot be found in a database search for doctoral dissertations with American universities.”

Tang eventually responded to Fang's challenges in an interview on a China National Radio program: “I've never said that I had gotten my doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, but I have done research studies at the institute. I have gotten my PhD, although not from the said school.”

So where did Tang receive his doctorate? He replied that he had been enrolled in a doctorate program at a university in Japan for five years, but decided at the last minute to go the US to pursue his studies. “I continued my studies and research at the Pacific Western University, and eventually got my PhD there. I have the diploma to prove it,” Tang explained.

Is Pacific Western University a legitimate college?
Fang continues to call into question Tang’s credentials: “If Tang Jun says that Pacific Western University is a legitimate college, then I will ask him: What is the name of the professor who supervised him? What was his topic of research? What is the title of his dissertation? Where is his dissertation published?”

Fang posted an update on July 6th: “Tang Jun has said that he received his doctorate from Pacific Western University, but this is a well-publicized, illegitimate college that has been investigated for selling sham degrees. The school was based in Hawaii, but was never accredited by the US Department of Education. Pacific Western, along with several other sham colleges, was at the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by State of Hawaii for fraud, and was eventually disbanded.” Fang also pointed out that according to data revealed by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2004, credentials could be bought with the Pacific Western University for the following prices: Bachelor's degree $2,295; Master's degree $2,395; doctorate degree $2,595 – all sales final. “Tang Jun's doctorate was bought from an unaccredited and illegitimate college, and is thus not recognized by society or institutions. It is a sham credential; he cannot state that he has a PhD with that kind of credential.”

Tang responded to the accusations in an interview with CCTV, saying that there are two colleges with the name Pacific Western – the one in Hawaii was illegitimate, but the one he attended and eventually got his PhD from in California was the real deal, and has always been accredited and recognized. Fang responded to this claim as well, saying that the two schools are one and the same – the California branch was an affiliate of the same university GAO cracked down on for sale of sham credentials.

Are Tang's claims on inventions legitimate?
"These are my inventions. I have come up with the original data, the software, and the hardware for the inventions, why can't I say that these belong to me?” – Tang Jun responding to questions about his intellectual property claims on photo sticker (purikura) booths and score-keeping karaoke machines.

Fang again rebutted these claims: “First off, all of the English-language introductions about photo sticker booths state that the machines were invented by a 30-year old Japanese woman by the name of Sasaki Miho. Secondly, the score-keeping karaoke machines were patented in 1998 by Pawate, and then by Japanese inventors named Tanaka and Wakamoto. Tang has not been named or registered with any of the patents related to his so-called inventions.”

Tang responded by saying that “the original idea for the photo sticker booth” had been his, and that he had sold his ideas to a Japanese company. “I've never said that I had patented the invention with the photo sticker booth, but the original idea came from me. That's what I've stated when referring to the photo sticker booths in my speeches and presentations.” As for the score-keeping karaoke machines, Tang said the following: “The technology and the idea for the machines was mine, and I had thought up the invention by myself when I was still at school. I manufactured a prototype and sent it to a company. That company eventually negotiated a deal with a South Korean company; they then proceeded to patent the invention. But still, I thought up the original idea and technology for the score-keeping machine, so of course I have a right to my own invention.”

Sham credential scandal involving Tang Jun escalates
The statement during the China National Radio interview that Tang had pursued his doctorate at a Japanese university for five years but eventually left to continue his studies in the US s also drawn further scrutiny. A 2004 NASDAQ prospectus for Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited, where Tang served as president and director of the company 2004-2008, states, “Mr. Tang holds a doctorate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pacific Western, and a doctorate degree in electronics from Nagoya University, Japan”.

Fang did not miss the chance to attack, posting yet another entry on his microblog stating that, “the prospectus obviously provided stock buyers with false information.”

Tang isn’t the only Pacific Western alumni
When Fang disclosed information about Tang's false credentials, someone surnamed Yu, a chairman for a investing company based in Beijing, posted a rebuke on his microblog saying that it is “snide and cheap” to try and uncover someone's credentials as a sham and undermine their respective careers. Later, Chinese netizens exposed Yu to be another alumnus of the discredited Pacific Western University.

Chinese netizens recently claimed that they've uncovered a list of business management doctorates from Pacific Western, and that familiar names associated with prominent companies and research institutes in China are on the list. It seems as if the fire with the sham credential scandal will burn on for a little bit longer still.

Following is a poll posted on Ifeng.com that investigated Chinese netizens’ reactions to the sham credential scandal involving Tang. A total of 391,203 people participated in the survey below.

1) Do you believe Fang Zhouzi's accusations and the proof he's cited about the credential scandal involving Tang?
1. I do 77.7% / 303813
2. I don't 7.3% / 28626
3. Undecided 15% / 58794
2) Does forging credentials undercut that person's credibility in your eyes?
1. Of course it does, forging credentials cannot be tolerated 87.9% / 343749
2. Forging credential is not related to someone's credibility 6.7% / 26079
3. Undecided 5.5% / 21378
3) Do you think it’s okay if someone as gifted a business leader as Tang Jun turns out from time to time to be less than 100% honest
1. Yes, their dishonesty from time to time is acceptable 9.6% / 37746
2. No, business leaders need to be credible, even more so than regular citizens 86.7% / 339222
3. Undecided 3.6% / 14244
4) What are your thoughts about the lack of credibility on the part of celebrities and social elites?
1. We should be more accepting, one bad apple shouldn’t spoil the whole barrel 14.2% / 55368
2. We shouldn't be so forgiving, celebrities need to set a prime example for society 81.9% / 320370
3. Don't care 4% / 15465

Source: ifeng.com

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Keywords: Tang jun scandal tang fake phd tang jun phd scandal china fake phd scandal china credentials scandal


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People with intention to deceive suffer from pscychological problem of all sorts imaginable from wanting attention to lacking of love. They should be send to rehabilitation center for 2 years for repentence and then be evaluated further.

Sep 11, 2012 01:41 Report Abuse


Jinjung Liewui

Odd I'll be specific, Tang is proficient with experience. So why the need to slander him upon. Career ability I know the objection false degrees. Still if
incompetent why Tang made abundant profits. Former employer? I know since acceleration of learning from Asia. Envy of the west "limited mind sets we. Asians don't think of education as racial heritage. Plenty of westerns with fake or enhanced GPA's. You never read these articles time
is on Asian peninsula. Tang is employed another firm does it matter!

Jun 01, 2011 11:09 Report Abuse



Well... round about every blog posts online don%u2019t have much originality as I found on yours.. Just keep updating much useful information so that reader like me would come back over and over again.

Aug 18, 2010 13:58 Report Abuse



Wow the %22extensive%22 commentary%21 Just make it concise__point which.
Rendered fraud in American corporation I%u2019m. Sick of this employment
correctness such__%5BWesterners%5D are valid%3F Profound let me explain
Asians whom aspire. To immigrate to West if there credentials. Are
faslified so be it%2C why the doubt know. Regarding origin especially Chinese heritage. Do actually have career proficencies%3F Okay then cause friction and bias thoughts%21 Asian governments are resolving the matter. Yes few gotten caught how about western. Financial fraud
and exclusion because of race%3F So if your seeking an exact response
not getting. From me so what the dishonest were caught. China has
fall acknowledgement once prior economic strength. China has resolve the problem so no need. Please were saying%3A why the %28monologue%29 save it for the dishonest. Westerner whom disrespect are cultural heritage. Tired of altering Asian values no cheats. Not the
compliant the attitude everything must. Be western accepted or else%21

Aug 06, 2010 13:38 Report Abuse



and how come there is 2 prices in china? one for the chinese and one for as you call us westerners. deal with it china.

Apr 15, 2011 17:06 Report Abuse



True everything none western is disputed. Since Asians have excelled in
western thought. Along education were innovating your doubting. Credentials Ming is accurate yes few expose for dishonesty. Why generalize including groups? At least China is fare among education enrollments. West by income and fraud on entrance examinations. China is resolving the problem learn to say. Success of China and Asian free market! Nationalistic Westerners, always your view point of the world!!!!!

Jun 01, 2011 11:20 Report Abuse



You must maintain one relatively tolerant manner: In the Chinese, 'Shanzhai'==`Village in a mountainous area ' is one culture,'Shanzhai' the handset is the handset, 'Shanzhai' diploma certainly is also a diploma. Just like a product, Neither as ' famous brand goods ` nor fake and shoddy. Although the 'tasteless', but there is room for the market.

Jul 16, 2010 17:02 Report Abuse



There are certificates and diplomas from non-accredited and accredited institutes. There are certificates for attending and completing courses (no one fails culture). But an academic degree (Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate) can only be valid if it comes from an accredited university. That is what people expect, this is why people want to buy degrees. Buying degrees is lying, it is designed to deceive people into giving you something that you do not deserve. It shows a basic lack of morality. Morality is important to the notion of a 'harmonious society' and morality is a basic human quality. Tang Jun used to be held up as an icon of what Chinese people can achieve. What kind of example does this set for the younger Chinese. What kind of image of the Chinese people does this feed to the outside world. Tang Jun's reputation is tarnished, and so is the credibility of any company that employs him.

Jul 16, 2010 18:19 Report Abuse


Humans are all bad

I know at least one Chinese person who has bought a university degree without ever going to uni. Although it's wrong, it happens more than you would expect here in China. I mean if something like a wife can be bought failry easily in China, it only makes sense that buying degrees/PHDs etc. is even more rampant.

Jul 18, 2010 03:56 Report Abuse



Buying degrees is common here. But once someone is discovered using a fake degree they should face consequences.

Jul 18, 2010 16:22 Report Abuse


kaw htoo

around china

Jul 18, 2010 22:16 Report Abuse



Rationalization when say Asians have fake credentials. Economically, ASEAN free market is abundant employers. Are checking for validation but still. Universities have went default how can. The western nations actually track them? But for those whom reside in Asia. Say attended EU,American,UK and Australian universities. Your asking to be examined for honesty. Singapore along Japan be getting many applicants. From China and Vietnam falsified graduate degrees. As they double major or the reason to wonder. Applicant under 35yrs of age, saying they have. 4 master degrees not saying this...not impossible. But you wonder still many Asian institutions. Do not offer these studies so I'm elated. Many whom, are dishonest getting caught. But the concern whom many are exposed? Chemical executive for Nippons cartel every. Applicant is investigate for authentic career information. No the article should just say Chinese this bias. Those whom are dishonesty, we caught. Many western in Nippon with fake degrees. But western media never eludes upon. This another factor the economic might. Greater Asia the envy of EU and America. So they have create distorted views. Of educaiton I'm satisfied there catching. These liars why live with false acclaim but. Many due thanks

Jul 21, 2010 08:20 Report Abuse



Nationalism regarding those guilty of lying. I resent the western view by. Saying as whole China,Korea,Thailand and Japan. High ratio of qualified citizens and renown institutions. I understand the article the fasle notions. Japan we been actually checking credentials reason. Technology companies are permitting work visa's. Japan is very selective upon this and applicants. Whom first priority are from ASEAN free market. Nations whom proficient in Japanese to address. This yes we get many from China and opposite. Many qualified and even enrolling in Japan universities. As Japanese businessmen, whom speaks 3 Chinese dialects. Your absolutely, true if your foreign employer. You expect honest employees, still were. Checking which is good why if not qualifed. You'll cause comapanies so much by being. Inept Chinese media should say those. Whom dishonest and lack of integrity there many. I know there certain markets in ASEAN free market. Salary is dismal but if work in Korea,Japan and Taiwain. Equvilate to Canada and EU so many stay on. Japan is selective market you must have the credentials. Or be pass over regarding education Asian. Schools have higher math,scienc and computer science scores. Then EU and America combine I concur. They resent us not detest just envious. And Chinese anger on employment procedures. Try to say all this generalization China still has. Qualifed personal why are so many in Japan.

Jul 21, 2010 08:45 Report Abuse



Envy and nationalism has nothing to do with it. In British culture cheating is a major wrong. We view cheats the same way we view thieves. Lying about qualifications is another major wrong in British culture. If anyone working for a large company is discovered to have fake qualifications they will be fired. There are many reasons for this, one of them is liability. If an unqualified worker causes damage, or technical failure, then the insurance will not pay up, and so the company is 100% liable, because it has been negligent.

Jul 21, 2010 20:53 Report Abuse



cheating on degrees is most stupid because it is easiest to get caught. even this can be forged, i almost don't trust anything else he said or did. he totally lost his credentials before public. he either apologizes for the wrong doing or prove that he did not cheat by listing out his PHD advisor and his published PHD dessertation. as far as i understand it, PWU has no authorization to issue any PHD's.

Jul 22, 2010 10:08 Report Abuse



The sad thing is this guy does not think he has done any thing wrong and is not preparing to make any public apology. Tang holds a strong belief that public attention to this matter will fade as time pass by and his lowyer probably also advised him to remain silence is the best way to handle this crisis.

Jul 22, 2010 15:14 Report Abuse



To admit he cheated would be to lose face. He would rather try and balls it out and attempt to nuke anybody who makes him lose face. People like Tang Jun will believe that the crime was being exposed and the criminal was the one who exposed him. Tang will see himself as a victim.

Jul 22, 2010 18:51 Report Abuse



In the past nobody ever checked credentials, one of the reasons was because exposing a cheat is a lose lose situation. And in the land of 'connections' qualifications were less relevant. In modern China, with more international competition, international standards for reporting on the stock exchange (fairly new) and ISO9001 etc. there is more checking. The other big one is that the little man can shine a light on the big man with the power/protection/support of search tools on the Web, allowing anybody to become an investigator, and the HUMAN FLESH SEARCH ENGINE. Welcome to the information age.

Jul 22, 2010 18:57 Report Abuse


The specialist

Those at the top never tell the truth, this is an established fact. I remember an incident that happened to my friend, his visa was expiring and he went to the bureau of entry and exit and told them about it and they told him its fine. However after a few months when he went there they told him its expired and he has to pay around 3000 rmb as fine for illegally staying in the country for 6 months. When he reminded them about them not telling him they completely neglected the claims, lucky for him we know some influential people to deal with it and eventually he had to pay 1000rmb fine. This just shows that in this country u won't find many people accepting their faults.

Jul 24, 2010 05:51 Report Abuse


Tim Lieou

if you search "martin luther king jr fake doctorate' on google, you may find some discussions. however, we remember him for " i have a dream". May Dr. TJ do all good deeds with his degree. Praise Good, please give us an honest soul.

Jul 25, 2010 07:51 Report Abuse



Please God, give us an honest Chinese soul.

Jul 25, 2010 18:02 Report Abuse



Its not just about the Doctorate, is it? There are also the claims to have invented things that others have patented. And his reasoning is extremely lame. Is this the kind of man that a major company wants making decisions for them? Would you hold this man up as a great example for young people to follow? He used to be held up a wonderful example, but now he is shown to be tarnished. As the old saying goes, 'the higher you climb, the harder you fall'. This man is overdue a fall.

Jul 25, 2010 18:07 Report Abuse



Economically, Asia has growth and influence. World markets, my concern: ___sudden interest in qualifications. Yes dishonesty you should be fired. For the British"fellow your comment is absured! Your being "nationalistic" for starters. Western nations continue to clamour: rationalize. Educational standards so what there a few. Whom desire to cheat I attend business school. Italy majority were limited in knowledge of business world. Yes openly cheated for answers, Mr. Britain. Shall European media present this answer is no! China as America have fake credentials. Still can Asia curtail this aspiration of false diploma's? Mr. Britain I guess they wanted to impress promient. Businessman upon being civilized and educated this angers me! You say Europe is so honest well why The Opium Wars you cause. China and along my Burma? It always the British perception of world. Asian has the highest ratio of Engineers,Medical, Finace and Technology. Your problem west cannot control Asia. So take your opininated British view point else where. Audacity to say British are honest okay. Come to Asian markets with kick backs. Article entails certain few expose not in general all Asian society. Mr. Britain think before you speak! China and Korea attracts majority Asians to study!

Jul 28, 2010 09:51 Report Abuse



Appreciate the the view points still. Objection to lye and evasive is perjury! Regarding the western media" your resent. A progressive industrialized Asia whom can economically. Assist the developing business world...as medical doctor. I see this when encounter western doctors still. At least China is exposing the corruption without. Denying it [adapting] so called western concept. Academic degree for career assurance is not always. The pursuit withing economic Asia: article. Shall not deter the untrue from perjury nor dishonesty. What is need a regional educational standard. Better tracking systems to expose. Liars Yes should have none the out come. Non Asian degree there going to examine the truth. Still China is combating this problem ethnic. No need for the revilement upon whom right. Just decadent nature shall pass us for greater. Economic and educational success eventually. The Occidental or West shall revert to Asia for education.

Jul 28, 2010 18:48 Report Abuse