Monday, June 30, 2008

CEB Rice Trial in Recess

The trial of the defamation case brought by CEB Rice against Fang Zhouzi commerced on June 30 in Beijing.

After opening statements by each side, the court proceeded with the plaintiff submitting evidences to the court. The shear amount of evidences apparently had taken up all allocated court time and forced the court into a recess. The judge declared that the court will have to find a date later to continue with the case.

With only a couple of exceptions, the plaintiff's evidences were largely various media reports on their achievements and the popularity of their product. Again and again, Fang Zhouzi's lawyer repeated the same words to indicate that the evidence presented was true but irrelevant and unreliable.

The transcript of the trial was available on the Internet in real time. A copy can be read here.

It is not immediately known when the court will resume this case.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Broadcast of the CEB Rice Trial

It turns out that the broadcast of the CEB Rice trial is not going to be in stream video. Rather, it is just a real-time display of the court proceedings, in text. You can access the text reporting (all in Chinese) here, but you have to use IE as your browser.

Many thanks to Yush for pointing it out and the link.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trial Date Set for the CEB Rice Case

The CEB Rice case, in which Fang Zhouzi had been accused for defamation, will be tried in the West District People's Court in Beijing on June 30. The trial will be open to public and available with stream video on the Internet. It's not clear if the practice of streaming video of court cases is a common practice in China or not.

The latest issue of the China News Weekly summarized the case in a detailed report, which is very favorable to Fang Zhouzi. Fang Zhouzi insisted that his accusation of fraud was about the company's product, not its technology as the lawsuit had claimed. The story also quoted several other scientists who questioned the claims of the CEB Rice company.

Particularly damning to CEB Rice is an interview with a businessman by the name of Zhang Jiang. Zhang Jiang had worked with the founders of CEB Rice, the parents of the current plaintiff. According to Zhang Jiang, their original attempts in creating a super-nutrious rice had failed miserably. After they gave up their experiment, the other two partners founded CEB Rice without Zhang Jiang's knowledge. An angry Zhang Jiang provided evidence to the paper of fraudulous behavior commited by CEB Rice, including selling rice that was contaminated.

CEB Rice did not respond to the reporter's requests for an interview.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Fraud Buster Who Steals

Yang Yushen (杨玉圣), a professor at the University of Political Sciences and Law and a member of the Scholar Integrity Committee (学风建设委员会) in the Ministry of Education, could be a comrade of Fang Zhouzi in the efforts of exposing academic corruption cases. Professor Yang runs a web site dedicated on "academic critism", which publishes numerous articles on academic integrity. In fact, Professor Yang has been claiming himself as the "First Fraud Buster of China" ("中国打假第一人"), even though his efforts had followed Fang Zhouzi's and also trailed badly in popularity and significance.

But much worse, Yang Yushen himself has been a target of Fang Zhouzi's fraud-busting. At XYS, a "For the Record" page documented many cases of Professor Yang's wrongdoings, including duplicate-publishing his own papers in multiple journals. He was also known as falsifying author names for the many articles published in his own web site.

Just this week, Fang Zhouzi found that an article originally published in XYS was stolen by Yang Yushen and published in Yang's web site. Yang Yushen made a few superficial editing changes in the article and made-up a new name, based on the original author's name, as the author. Fang Zhouzi presented a series of evidences, including his own editing changes to the article, to prove his case.

It was not the first time Professor Yang Yushen had stolen contents from XYS. A similiar case was exposed in 2005.

Professionalism of School Teachers

During the devastating Sichuan earth quake, a school teacher ran out of his classroom without taking care of his pupils. He later openly publicized his actions and his thoughts behind it and became an instant celebrity of sorts in China.

The teacher was later fired from the school and stripped his teaching credentials, which opened yet another can of worms.

On the internet, the teacher had gained more attackers than defenders. Each side has been passionately arguing on his moral and legal stance on the matter.

A couple of days ago, Fang Zhouzi jumped into a foray and pointed out that there was another issue behind the case: the lack of professionalism in China. In a brief essay titled To Be a Teacher One Has to Act Like a Teacher, he said that the teacher's action demonstrated that he did not have the professionalism required for a teacher.

Echoing previous arguments by Rao Yi, Fang Zhouzi said there was no real translation of the word "professionalism" in Chinese. Teachers, just like doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, architects, and accountants, are special professions that demand certain higher moral obligations to the people they serve.

The widespread corruption in many of such professions in China, Fang Zhouz conluded, is rooted in the lack of professionalism.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fang Zhouzi on Predicting Earthquakes

EastSouthWestNorth had translated Fang Zhouzi's essay on The Dream And Reality of Earthquake Prediction into English. It was originally published in Chinese on China Youth Daily and New Threads.