Chinese PhD scholar accused of plagiarism takes Peking University to court

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 October, 2015, 3:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 October, 2015, 3:06pm

A Peking University graduate accused of plagiarising a thesis paper has taken her former college to court demanding that it reinstate her PhD degree, according to a newspaper report.

She said an essay she copied from was not part of her degree thesis and the university had decided to revoke her degree merely due to public pressure, The Beijing News reported. 

A court in the Haidian district of the capital held the first hearing in the case on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

Yu Yanru, 36, was admitted to the university’s history department in 2008 and got her degree in July 2013.

The following month the Chinese Journal of Journalism and Communication said in a public notice that she had heavily plagiarised another thesis paper in her essay published in its July issue.

The journal said Yu had translated paragraphs word by word from “Frondeur” Journalism in the 1770s: Theatre Criticism and Radical Politics in the Prerevolutionary French Press, published by Johns Hopkins University Press in the United States.

The notice, widely circulated on social media in China, prompted Peking University to revoke her degree in January this year, the report said.

READ MORE: Scholar accused of plagiarism by blogger

The university told the court the decision was made in line with the country’s regulations on academic degrees.

Yu cited the regulations as saying that universities could only revoke degrees when a student’s degree thesis was found to be a copy, the report said.

She told the newspaper she would “fight for her rights to the end”.

The hearing continues.