Zhang Ming: China’s Culture of Denial

China Media Project translates an opinion piece from Southern Metropolis Daily by Zhang Ming about the recent scandal over faked credentials by businessman Tang Jun:

Some time back, Jun Tang (唐骏), the CEO of New Huadu Industrial Group and former chairman of Microsoft China, was accused by certain parties of having falsified his academic credentials. There was a lot of shoving back and forth, and the question of whether Tang had actually faked his credentials or not remained unclear until finally a diploma was produced from America’s Pacific Western University.

Who could have guessed that once a quick Internet search was done on this institution it would turn out to be just another so-called “wild chicken university” (野鸡大学) selling off diplomas?

Search a bunch of Jun Tang’s Chinese classmates and you’ll find that they’re all leaders in various fields. Among these, one of his classmates, Yu Jinyong (禹晋永), who is listed by some sources as chairman of the board at the so-called Generation Investment Group (中国世代投资集团) — perhaps because he feels he’s not famous enough, or because he feels a strong sense of fraternity — saw the need to step out and run defense for Jun Tang.

In the end, they’ve run a brave defense, but [Jun Tang’s] degree is still a wild chicken degree all the same, and the human flesh search has heaped all sorts of other scandals on his head. While Yu Jinyong has loudly proclaimed that he intends to sue in order to bring all of these accusers to justice, it’s easy to see that the case isn’t so simple after all. It’s already too late for Yu to shake himself off and come out clean.

…A politician using a fake diploma to grab a leadership position, and a scholar finagling his way into a teaching position are fundamentally different matters. And while fake diplomas may be all the rage in the business world, when you’re really sitting down to do business, no fool is going to buy this degree of yours, regardless of whether it’s real or not. For someone like Tang Jun to have several bogus PhDs might deceive young and impressional students if he publishes a book or speaks at a university. But the rest is just narcissism.


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