Photo: Zhang Wenhong
Fudan University has announced the launch of an investigation into prominent infectious disease specialist Zhang Wenhong in response to internet users’ accusations against his doctoral thesis published in 2000 for plagiarism. The Chinese disease specialist is mired in hot water after comments that China may need to “coexist with the coronavirus” in the long term sparked controversy.
Some netizens on China’s Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo have been promoting the charges against Zhang, who is considered to be “China’s Dr Fauci,” claiming he is suspected of academic fraud, citing professor Huang Hainan. from the Qilu Institute of Technology, which claimed its thesis published in the Chinese Journal of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases in 1998 was plagiarized by Zhang in 2000, without quotes, notes, instructions or even an acknowledgment.
Yet despite netizens’ claim that 95% of Huang’s thesis was copied by Zhang by posting multiple photographs of their respective articles, some media platforms said that the overlapping part was mostly concentrated in the part of the literature review, which is approximately 3,300 words long. Zhang’s 95-page doctoral article is approximately 70,000 words long.
Fudan University Graduate School said on Sunday that it noticed reports of online discussions about the literature review portion of Zhang’s doctoral thesis. The university promised to launch an investigation and publish the results in a timely manner.
Zhang, 52, did not respond to the charges on Sunday.
The online accusations came after Zhang’s remarks on his Sina Weibo account on July 29 in response to the recent resurgence of the epidemic in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, which has spread to several provinces that “most virologists around the world now agree that COVID-19 is a resident virus that the whole world must learn to live with.”
Other experts, including top Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, director of the China Center for Disease Control Gao Fu, and Chinese respiratory specialist Wang Chen had previously expressed similar views.
The wisdom of long-term coexistence with the virus, as Zhang said, is not only a dominant view of the Chinese medical community in the fight against the epidemic, but also represents the opinion of the community. global medical.
However, days after Zhang made the remark, Gao Qiang, China’s former health minister, wrote an article in People’s Daily, calling for continued rigorous epidemic prevention measures to keep the country free. virus, lambasting the idea of coexisting with the virus, which seemed to contradict Zhang.
Many netizens have also urged Fudan University to fully investigate and give the public an impartial result as soon as possible, as they believe that the plagiarism accusation, if not true, should not prevent Zhang , as a healthcare professional, to continue posting more tips on tackling COVID-19.