A prominent Shanghai historian and outspoken political commentator has become the latest mainland scholar to be embroiled in allegations of plagiarism. Shanghai University has launched an investigation into Zhu Xueqin , professor of history at the university's Peace and Development Research Centre, following an anonymous blogger's accusations he copied an American scholar's work in his doctoral thesis - published almost two decades ago. Zhu's accuser - posting under the pseudonym Isaiah - claimed that an analysis of his doctoral thesis, 'Collapse of the Moral, Ideal Kingdom: From Rousseau to Robespierre', showed sections bore an uncanny similarity to an earlier work by American historian Carol Blum. A former high school history teacher, Zhu completed his PhD in 1992. His thesis was published two years later and drew widespread acclaim when it was republished in book form in 1997. Isaiah charged that the conclusion and a number of other sections of the thesis relied too heavily on Blum's 1989 book, Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue, rather than demonstrating original research from primary sources. The blog post - widely reproduced on internet forums - included passages from Zhu's publication which appeared to be almost verbatim translations from Blum's book. Isaiah claimed there were also similarities in structure and content between the two books that would not stand up to scrutiny. A spokesman for the university confirmed Zhu's work was being reviewed as a result of the accusations. 'Shanghai University is very concerned about the issue of plagiarism and we are taking these accusations seriously,' he said. 'The matter is now being investigated and we will release our findings in due course.' Zhu could not be reached for comment yesterday, but was quoted in mainland media as saying that he had listed Blum's work in his bibliography and references to it had been included in footnotes. The row is the latest in a series of suspected plagiarism cases that has dogged mainland academia.