University officials under fire again

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2012, 12:00am


The conduct of mainland university officials has been called into question again after the president of Zhejiang University was caught playing a computer poker game at a top-level symposium where controversial Peking University president Zhou Qifeng was also seen promoting a CD single featuring a song dedicated to his mother.

The photo of Yang Wei, president of the prestigious university in Hangzhou, one of the nation's oldest, was first posted on the internet on Sunday by a microblogger called 'Brother Daijun'.

He said the photo was taken at a symposium in Nanjing on Chinese culture attended by university presidents from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.

Yang was caught playing the poker game while Professor Chang Hsin-kang, the former president of City University of Hong Kong, delivered a speech.

Calls to Yang's office and Zhejiang University's publicity department went unanswered yesterday.

The episode has been reported widely in mainland media and the original weibo entry on was reposted more than 30,750 times, receiving more than 10,000 comments, by Sunday evening.

One commentator said the episode had brought shame on Yang, his university and the mainland education system in general.

'We cannot trust someone like Yang to be capable of maintaining a high standard of research and teaching at the university,' the post read.

A commentary in the Beijing Morning Post said Yang's behaviour at the gathering was in stark contrast to previous speeches where he had criticised the absent-mindedness of some academics.

'What has happened to our university presidents?' asked the commentary, which also made reference to Zhou's controversial and highly public visit to his mother on her 90th birthday this month, in which their emotional embraces were filmed by camera crews.

Zhou also grabbed his share of the limelight at the Nanjing symposium where he was seen promoting a CD single dedicated to his mother.

The Yangtze Evening News reported yesterday that Zhou gave a copy of the CD, entitled Mother's Camellia Fruit, to Chang as a present when Zhou presided over his segment of the symposium.

The CD's cover says that Zhou wrote the lyrics for the single out of gratitude to his mother for the hardships she endured to raise her family.