Lecturer fired for stealing articles

A CHINESE university lecturer has been fired for plagiarising academic articles and cheating a science foundation out of 15,000 yuan (HK$20,085), the New China News Agency (NCNA) reported yesterday.

Li Fubin, 46, a lecturer at the Chinese University of Mining and Technology in Xuzhou, was charged with stealing three articles from an Italian science journal and reprinting them as his own in the United States, Canada and Switzerland.

Mr Li was also charged with defrauding the National Science Foundation of 15,000 yuan by inventing a resume which included 25 published articles, 19 of which were non-existent and three stolen.

The public announcement of Mr Li's dismissal is a further indication of China's determination to be seen to be rigorously enforcing recently enacted copyright legislation.

Only two weeks ago, the official media reported that a publication house had been ordered by the Government to stop publication of Andrew Morton's biography of Princess Diana because it had not secured the Chinese language copyright.

China signed a major agreement on the protection of intellectual property rights with the US in January last year.

The US considers the agreement a key condition for the improvement of Sino-US relations.

''It is basically a conceptual problem,'' said one computer company representative in Beijing. ''People here, even highly-educated people who have spent time abroad, have great difficulty in understanding that you have to pay for software when you can just as easily copy it.''