University president apologises over admissions extortion scandal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 August, 2004, 12:00am

The president of China's top aerospace university has apologised over a scandal involving a former professor who allegedly extorted money from students in Guangxi before releasing their admission letters.

The scandal, exposed by state television, is being investigated by the Ministry of Education. The former professor and several business associates are being questioned for allegedly taking at least 550,000 yuan from students' parents.

Li Wei , president of Beihang University, yesterday told the Beijing News he accepted responsibility for the scandal.

'I am deeply sorry for what's happened. This incident has had a very bad effect on Beihang's reputation and the national college recruitment system,' Mr Li was quoted as saying.

He also admitted that the scandal showed there was chaos in the university's student recruitment.

State television reported that former computer science teacher Pang Hongbing had allegedly accepted money from parents of at least seven students in Guangxi. The Beijing News yesterday quoted a report that Mr Li sent to the Ministry of Education as saying that although Mr Pang did not teach at Beihang, he worked for a company affiliated with the university in Guangxi because he was a native of the province.

Mr Pang allegedly used his connections to Beihang to extort the money from the parents after he was given their students' admission letters by the university recruitment office. Regulations state that the office is supposed to mail the admission letters to the students directly.

Through one of his business associates, Gao Feng , Mr Pang allegedly promised a father that his daughter, who had failed to win admission, would get a place at the university if he paid 100,000 yuan.

However, the parent reported the demand to the police. Last Wednesday, police in Nanning arrested another associate of Mr Pang, Liu Tianping , when he accepted 100,000 yuan from the father at a bank. Mr Pang and Mr Gao were both called in for questioning.