A 'legendary' teacher has been fired from one of Shanghai's elite middle schools after allegations emerged that he engaged in sexual misconduct with male pupils in the late 1990s.
East China Normal University's No 2 Affiliated Middle School said Zhang Datong, who taught physics and was once deputy headmaster, had been dismissed for an ethical breach, a posting on its Sina microblog said on Thursday.
Zhang has not made any public comments on the matter and telephone calls to his office went unanswered yesterday.
His sacking came one day after a posting appeared on the Sino microblog accusing Zhang of actions that violated 'teachers' ethics'. The authors of the post said they graduated from the school in 1997.
Under the pretense of 'examining pupils' bodies', Zhang got too close to youths, and more than one teenager was involved, the post said.
'As victims or people aware of the situation, we decided not to be silent any longer and we want to make the information public using our real names.' This appears to be a call for victims to come forward.
One reply from 'Li Pinxiang' said he was a graduate of the 1997 class and had remained silent about the misconduct because he did not know any better when he was young.
But now as a parent, 'Li' said he had a responsibility to go public with this information and urged the youth to be on their guard.
In another post, 'Bi Han' said he knew of least 10 male classmates whom Zhang had 'inappropriate body contact' with.
A spokeswoman at the headmaster's office told the Post that the school had conducted its own investigation into the claims and decided to dismiss Zhang.
Zhang, 64, is widely known in Shanghai for tutoring students who represented China at international physics contests.
Liu Xing, a physics teacher from the privately run Shanghai Elite Advanced Education School, said: 'I was shocked when reading the news about Zhang ... because he has been a big name in our field.'
One posting on Weibo left by 'Yanfeng Chen' said he had regarded Zhang as a 'legend' when he was a pupil at the school.
'Receiving his special tutoring, I thought I could achieve glory in competitions. After class he gave me 'close touches' and I thought it was a sign of affection shown by a good teacher,' he said. 'However, the 'close touches' were repeated and I began to grow suspicious and frightened.'
There is no mainland law governing 'raping boys', and Zhang could face charges related to sexual misconduct or abuse.