8 Recent Scandals Involving University Principals in China

8 Recent Scandals Involving University Principals in China
May 22, 2013 By eChinacities.com

Editor’s note: this article was translated and edited from roll.sohu.com. The article looks at eight cases of university principals and university officials who were recently involved in high-profile scandals. Many of the scandals involve bribery and embezzlement. Several of the cases are still currently ongoing, with charges or sentences yet to be announced.

Corruption and bribery scandals don’t just occur in the lofty echelons of the Chinese government. This article takes a look at some of the biggest cases in recent years of university principals and officials who were involved in scandals featuring bribery, embezzlement, plagiarism, and even manslaughter.

1) Zhou Wenbin - “severe disciplinary violations”
On the afternoon of May 9, 2013, it was revealed that Nanchang University Deputy Party Chief and Principal Zhou Wenbin was under suspicion of “severe disciplinary violations”, and had been removed from his office by staff from the Jiangxi Discipline Inspection Commission. The next evening, a conference was held with senior teachers at Nanchang University wherein the commission reported Zhou’s dismissal. He is currently under investigation regarding his violations.

2) Liu Zhihe - bribery
Former Vice-Principal of Nanchang Aviation University Liu Zhihe was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on February 18, 2013, after being found guilty of accepting bribes totalling 2.62 million RMB. The court found that during his terms as Vice-Principal of the university and General Director of the university’s new campus construction project, Liu took advantage of his position and took bribes from 12 individuals on 41 separate occasions. In return, Liu assisted the individuals with the construction of their projects by providing funding and arranging jobs.      

3) Zhang Xiaoqi - bribery
Zhang Xiaoqi, who was previously the Principal of the Hunan University of Technology, was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes on October 14, 2011. A principal with 40 years experience in education, Zhang received 115 bribes amounting to 2.51 million RMB between 1998 and 2009. On November 25, 2012, the Hunan Provincial Higher People’s Court rejected an appeal from Zhang over the sentence length. The original life sentence and depravity of all political rights still stands.    

4) Liao Weiming - drunk-driving related deaths
Vice-Principal of Jiangxi Agricultural University Liao Weiming killed two students and injured another four during a drunk-driving accident in March 2011. Because Liao turned himself in and offered compensation to the families of the deceased, the court sentenced him to three years imprisonment on October 19, 2011. During a second trial on December 4, 2011 however, Liao’s sentence was reduced further—he was granted a suspended prison sentence on the grounds that he was a “talent in the field of high technology.” 

5) Two principals of Guangzhou universities (names unknown) - plagiarism
In February 2013, it was reported that two principals from “well-known Guangzhou universities” were under investigation for plagiarising 70-80 percent of the contents in their PhD theses. “Principals practicing fraud? What a disgrace!” stated one academic from the Engineering Institute of Guangdong’s Jinan University. Former Jinan University Principal Liu Renhuai condemned the rampant plagiarism present in the current education environment in China, and expressed his shock at the behaviour of the pair. Though when a reporter asked Liu for the names of the two principals, he said that it was inappropriate to disclose their identities at that time. The reporter then asked why two principals of famous universities were able to hold such titles without completing their PhDs, to which Liu replied, “You become a professor after you hold such a title.” Will these two principals be reported to the authorities? For the time being, no. “The time is not right yet,” stated Liu.               


6) Liao Weilin - potential stock market controversy in sight
In addition to holding a position as the Controller at Silinco, a Jiangxi chemical company, Liao Weilin is also the Principal of Jiangxi Normal University. If Silinco successfully gets onto the stock market as planned, Liao and his wife Zhu Xianghui’s personal assets will reach 2.4 billion RMB. Many have condemned Liao, as a school principal, for planning to list his company on the stock market, especially since many other fellow principals with similar companies have recently resigned from their positions. Some lawyers have suggested this action—listing his company on the stock market—should be considered illegal.       

7) Chen Zhaofang - bribery
Chen Zhaofang, the former Executive Vice President of Wuhan University and member of the University Party Standing Committee, was arrested under suspicion of accepting bribes in September 2009. On December 14, 2010, Chen’s court case began its hearing at the Jingzhou Intermediate People’s Court in Hubei. Chen was sentenced to 12 years in jail on February 17, 2011, and had assets valued at 150,000 RMB confiscated by the authorities.  

8) The Zhejiang four - bribery, misappropriation of public funds
In January 2009, Vice-Principal of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University Xia Jinrong was sentenced to death (with a two year reprieve) at the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court for accepting bribes. The case also involved the Director of the university’s Institute of Mechanical Design, Shen Ding, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes and misappropriation of public funds. Also involved, Former Party Secretary Bai Tongping was sentenced to 11 years in prison for accepting bribes, while another former director, Chen Songshu, was sentenced to ten years and six months for the same. In total, the four cases involved 16 bribes totalling 8.48 million RMB and was the first of its kind at a Zhejiang university, according to the authorities.

Source: roll.sohu.com

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and students continue to do anything and everything to get in

Jun 13, 2016 08:39 Report Abuse



how could you skip xinjiang medical university , there are at least 200 students studying on scholarship with 1700/month. but the university is not providing the living allowance although china scholarship council has announced these students scholarship. may be xinjiang is far away from mainland so this reason nobody can see this huge amount of corruption .

May 22, 2013 18:10 Report Abuse



I guess if this magazine continues listing and writing about these "icons of Chinese universities" it will have little room to report on anything else. Can we assume the list is almost endless?

May 22, 2013 07:09 Report Abuse



as xxxcdbxxx said above and then there's the case of the woman that raped herself and jumped to her death at some Uni. Was that the same place some students had an accident after drinking with the teachers? I recently helped talk a person out of giving a bribe of 100,000rmb to a university so that their son could be admitted. That university is also not on this list but i'm sure it will in the future.

May 22, 2013 11:02 Report Abuse



you forgot one http://www.chinasmack.com/2013/stories/principal-civil-servant-took-elementary-school-girls-to-hotel.html

May 22, 2013 07:00 Report Abuse



"8 Recent Scandals Involving University Principals in China" this is the title of the article. where would an incident involving elementary personnel fit in?

May 24, 2013 12:04 Report Abuse