Year marred by plagiarism

THE sixth and possibly last year of Professor Cheng Yiu-chung's time at the helm of City University has been marred by two embarrassing inquiries into plagiarism by its academics.

In January, the Post revealed that Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, formerly Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, had copied from Norman Miners, then a professor at the University of Hong Kong, for his own publication, a textbook on government and public affairs.

The vice-chancellor said the case was 'no big deal', as it concerned a textbook and not a research paper.

He later said reproducing others' work without acknowledgment was not correct and his earlier comment was made on the basis that there was a difference in the level of seriousness between a textbooks and research.

Professor Joseph Cheng was later stripped of his deanship and administrative duties, but retained his academic position. In March, Dr Alex Kwan Yui-huen, a reader in the Department of Applied Social Studies, admitted that he had copied material from a book for use in one of his own works in 1986. An inquiry has been launched.

Professor Cheng Yiu-chung, 56, has overseen the inquiries into both cases.

He graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1963 and obtained his doctorate in physics at the University of British Columbia in 1967.

He returned to Hong Kong in 1978 to teach. He became sub-dean of the Faculty of Engineering in 1981 and was promoted to the deanship in 1987.

In July 1989, he became vice-chancellor of the then City Polytechnic of Hong Kong. His time there saw the polytechnic's promotion to university status and the student population expand from 6,000 to 14,000.

He was awarded a CBE this year and was made a Hong Kong affairs adviser in May.