Education

Professor sacked in 'blackmail' affair case

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am

Peking University dismissed a professor over an extramarital affair he had with a young Yunnan woman, who allegedly blackmailed him.

In a statement issued via Xinhua, the university said yesterday that the professor failed to act ethically as a university teacher and his actions tarnished its reputation. However, it refused to disclose the identity of the middle-aged professor.

The scandal is seen as the latest example of an overall decline in ethics among mainland academics.

The affair came to light after the 22-year-old woman from Lijiang was detained by police at a McDonald's restaurant in northern Beijing in late April when she threatened to go public about the affair if the professor did not give her 300,000 yuan (HK$366,400).

In an earlier interview with the Beijing Times, the woman said she met the professor in Lijiang on January 1, 2009, during her final year of high school. She was reportedly later given 3,000 yuan a month to come to Beijing, where she stayed at the professor's home for a week while his wife was away. She came to Beijing a second time at the invitation of the professor in May that year when she was supposed to be concentrating on her college entrance exam preparations, the report said.

The woman said they continued to see each other until February of this year. The relationship turned sour after the professor said he could not help her gain entry to Peking University or any other college, as he had promised. She blamed him for wasting two years of her life, twice missing the college-entrance examination.

The newspaper also said she claimed to have brought two classmates, armed with hunting guns, with her to Beijing.

Lawyer Xu Xilong said his client was simply naive in hoping that if she pressured the professor by demanding money, it would help her secure a place at the university.