The Complete Analysis and Comparison of the Plagiarism in Liu Juhua’s Master’s Degree Thesis
August 15, 2012
Before August, 2010, Ms. Liu Juhua was almost unknown to the world outside the kingdom of the New Threads, a website the journal Nature called “a popular place to post rumours of scientific fraud.”
Ms. Liu has been treated like a queen on the New Threads since 2001, when she published two articles touting Fang Zhouzi, the king of the website, as “the Internet phenomenal,” “fraud fighter,” and “Science warrior.”
In 2002, after having received her Master’s Degree from the department of journalism in the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (GSCASS), Liu married Fang Zhouzi. Not long after, she was employed by the Xinhua News Agency, China’s news portal
. In 2011, amid a plagiarism scandal, Ms. Liu was promoted to the rank of chief reporter（主任记者）and was almost dispatched to the United States as a foreign correspondent, a lucrative post envied by most journalists in China
. The plan miscarried, however. Now Ms. Liu is based in Beijing, in charge of the news about and from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of PRC
Liu Juhua. a chief reporter with the Xinhua News Agency
On August 29, 2010, Ms. Liu, under the name of “Fang Zhouzi’s spouse,” announced on Fang’s microblog the news that Fang Zhouzi was attacked in Beijing
. Since then, Ms. Liu has published several articles under the name of “Fang Zhouzi’s wife.”
The tone of these articles was so rude, outrageous and overbearing that people started to pay attention to her. Now, of course, we know that Ms. Liu has been actually Fang’s boss, his backstage manipulator, and his accomplice over the past decade
Less than two months after the assault in Beijing, one of Fang’s many plagiarism cases, the one he committed 15 years ago against his professor at Michigan State University, was exposed
. Soon after, Fang’s plagiarism history, nearly three decades long, was dug up
. Against this background, a question like this emerged: since Fang Zhouzi is a habitual plagiarizer, how about his bossy wife who also lives on writing? To answer the question, a user of China Academic Integrity Review
(AIR-China), who is only known by his web ID “Hong Qiao” （洪荞）, studied the last page of Liu’s Master’s thesis
. To his surprise, the 3 paragraphs in that page were copied from three sources, one of which was her future husband’s article. This discovery was soon posted on ScienceNet.cn on March 1, 2011, by Dr. Liao Junlin of University of Iowa
. One month later, Hong Qiao studied the first section of the first chapter of Liu’s thesis. The finding was even more astonishing: the entire section contained 12 paragraphs and nearly 1300 Chinese characters, but except for 36 characters, everything else, word for word, paragraph by paragraph, was copied from other people’s articles. Liu copied 8 articles in that section, but she only acknowledged one source. This discovery was posted online by Dr. Liao again, on April 8, 2011
AIR-China is a public forum formed by a group of Chinese scholars from all over the world. The purpose of the forum is to protect Chinese scholars’ human dignity, academic reputation, and legal rights from the harassment, intimidation, threats, and terror by Fang and his thugs
. To reach this goal, members of AIR-China collect, study, evaluate the facts of Fang’s unethical, illegal, and criminal actions, and report the findings to the parties concerned, and to the public. Before April, 2011, AIR-China had convened 5 panels to evaluate five individual allegations against Fang’s plagiarism, and Fang was unanimously convicted in every case, including the MSU case
. Obviously, Ms. Liu’s plagiarism would have been the next case to be reviewed by an AIR-China panel. However, something happened before AIR-China could take the initiative.
On April 18, 2011, Mr. Chen Lidan, a former GSCASS professor and the chairman of Liu’s Master Thesis Defense Committee, posted an article on his blog, asking me, Yi Ming, for “detailed evidence” of Liu’s plagiarism. In addition, Professor Chen requested that Yi Ming do a “complete comparison” of Liu’s thesis, otherwise, Yi Ming should apologize to Ms. Liu
Chen Lidan, a professor in the School of Journalism at Renmin University of China
The fact is, before April 18, 2011, the evidence for Liu’s plagiarism was everywhere on the Internet: many people had already done a lot of volunteer work to dig up the evidence
. Since Professor Chen overlooked such evidence, and overlooked the initial whistleblower, Dr. Liao, instead, he asked Yi Ming for evidence, he must have come prepared. So, I asked a few members of AIR-China for help
. Together, we reviewed the entire text of Liu’s thesis, and the outcome is the basis of this document. On April 25, 2011, I submitted the document to Professor Chen
. The next day, Professor Chen announced that he had already informed GSCASS that Liu’s thesis was suspected of plagiarism
. On April 27, 2011, Chinese newspaper Legal Weekly
published a full-length article, reporting the case
. Two days later, China’s largest English newspaper, China Daily, reported this case to the English world
The page image of China Daily's report on Liu's plagiarism
Liu’s thesis contains about 31,000 Chinese characters, which are distributed in 4 chapters, 13 sections, and 159 paragraphs. Every chapter, every section contains plagiarism. At least 148 paragraphs contain texts from sources other than Liu’s own. These copied texts amount to 28,000 Chinese characters, more than 90% of the total. In her thesis, Liu used 81 notes to acknowledge the sources of these copied texts, the notes are distributed in 70 paragraphs. In other words, 78 paragraphs (49% of the total paragraphs) in Liu’s thesis contain other people’s texts without any attributions, so they constitute plagiarism without any doubt.
Liu’s plagiarism is not limited to the 78 paragraphs, however. The facts are, the 70 paragraphs with attributions contain a lot of hidden plagiarism. First, some notes themselves were stolen by Liu Juhua, i.e. Liu copied not only other people’s texts or quoted texts, but also their notes. (See Liu’s notes #
12 and #
32 for examples). Second, 42 of the 81 notes (52%) are located at the end of paragraphs. Since most of the notes, 48 (59%) of them, to be exact, were not accompanied by quotation marks, and most paragraphs of Liu’s thesis contain texts from multiple sources, thus it seemed that one of the major functions of such annotation was to cover up the multiple plagiarism. (See Liu’s notes #
77, errata #
5 for examples). Third, by putting the note marks in the middle of a paragraph, Liu Juhua deliberately stole other people’s texts. For example, the second paragraph in the third section of chapter 3 (p. 27) contains 262 Chinese characters, and every one of them was copied from the Chinese version of Helmut Schmidt’s Auf der Suche nach einer öffentlichen Moral. Yet Liu put the note mark (#
56) inside the paragraph, obviously implying that the sentence behind it was her own, which of course was not. The image below illustrates how the trick works. (Also see Liu’s note #
54-56, for examples.)
How to steal a sentence by using an attribution?
On the left is one paragraph in Liu Juhua’s Master’s thesis, which is a verbatim copy of the Chinese translation of Helmut Schmidt’s Auf der Suche nach einer öffentlichen Moral (right). Liu put the note mark #56 before the last sentence (in red box), obviously implying that sentence was her own. In fact, that sentence is the very next sentence following what Liu just quoted from Helmut Schmidt’s book.
On April 21, 2011, just before the big bang of Liu’s plagiarism scandal, GSCASS published the Trial Procedures for the Detection of Academic Norms in Theses and Dissertations, in which it says: “If the whole text of a thesis contains 40% or more other people’s texts, the applicant’s eligibility for the degree will be stripped.”
In Liu’s thesis, the whole text contains more than 90% of other people’s published texts.
On March 15, 2012, 240 Chinese scholars from China and international communities signed an open letter to GSCASS, asking the school to investigate the case
. On the same day, the dean of GSCASS, Dr. Liu Yingqiu, declared to the whole body of GSCASS students: “We can endure the mediocrity in scholarship, but we can absolutely not live under the same sky with the evils threatening academic integrity.”
Since then, 4 months have passed, and GSCASS has neither responded to the open letter, nor has taken any actions on Liu’s case, as far as we know
Dr. Liu Yingqiu, the Dean of GSCASS
Hence we present the English-Chinese version of this document to the world. Of course, Liu’s thesis and her sources are in Chinese, but no Chinese language skill is needed to do the comparison, because the comparison is color-coded. What we want is to let the fact be known to everybody, and let anybody who knows the facts be the judge.
【Most of the original sources are in Chinese, and the links provided are active as of August 15, 2012.】
Anonymous. “Fantasy reference list leads to the sack.” Nature 440, 728-729 (6 April 2006). The complete sentence of the quote is: “The school was told of the problem last November by Shi-min Fang, a San Diego-based biochemist whose home page is a popular place to post rumours of scientific fraud.”
Liu Juhua’s two touting articles are:《网络奇才方舟子
》(“The Internet phenomenal Fang Zhouzi”) and《读〈溃疡——直面中国学术腐败〉
》(“Ulcer: Facing China’s Academic Corruption—A Review”). The latter was an abbreviated version of the former, and was published on Worker’s Daily on July 18, 2001. Both articles were published on the New Threads on July 28, 2001.
Liu Juhua has been hiding her personal history from the public. [see:杨丹荷：《方舟子为何相中了刘菊花？
》(Yang Danhe: “Why did Fang Zhouzi choose Liu Juhua?”);《为什么刘菊花履历是一个谜？
》(“Why is Liu Juhua’s resume a mystery?”)]. Even her college education is a mystery: it seems nobody knows exactly where and when she went to which college. There have been a lot of rumors on the Internet since last April about Liu’s life experience, the most popular one is like this: she was a maid for a high rank official, and with the help of this official, she went to the prestigious GSCASS directly without a college education, even without a high school education. (see this microblog
for example). Liu and Fang deny the rumors, but they refuse to clarify the matter with any evidence until two weeks ago. On August 1, 2012, Fang posted Liu’s diploma of bachelor's degree
on the Internet, but its authenticity was questioned immediately by many people (links: [weibo.com
]). Neither Liu nor Fang has answered any of these questions directly, so far, but Fang threatened with lawsuits
any people who question the diploma. A vote shows that many people believe the diploma is a forged one. About Liu Juhua, please also see: zh.wikipedia.org:《刘菊花
》(Liu Juhua); baike.baidu.com:《刘菊花
》(Liu Juhua); 赵华: 《方舟子妻新华社主任记者刘菊花小传
》(Zhao Hua: A brief biography of Liu Juhua, Fang Zhouzi’s wife and Xinhua News Agency’s chief reporter).
Liu’s promotion in 2011 was revealed in this microblog
by one of her colleagues in the Xinhua News Agency. Liu’s dispatch plan was revealed by her husband Fang Zhouzi. （李大明：《学术打假 方舟子告别圣地牙哥
》，2011年9月30日《世界日报》）(Li Daming: “Fang Zhouzi bid farewell to San Diego.” The World Journal, September 30, 2011.)
On the official website of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China
, there are more than one hundred web pages containing Liu Juhua’s name. According to Wikipedia
, the ministry is “responsible for regulation and development of the postal service, Internet, ……” One of Ms. Liu’s major accomplishments as Xinhua News Agency’s MIIT correspondent is a report written by her and another reporter saying that 92% of Chinese Internet users support the mandatory installation in their computers of the infamous filtering software Green Dam. （冯晓芳、刘菊花：《工信部：计算机预装过滤软件是保护青少年免受互联网不良信息影响
》，新华社北京2009年6月9日电）(Feng Xiaofang and Liu Juhua: “MIIT: Pre-installation of filtering software on computers is to protect young people from the impact of the bad Internet information.” Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, June 9, 2009.) Liu later denied that she contributed anything to that report. Instead, she claimed that she was the person who single-handedly made the cancellation of the Green Dam project possible. （刘菊花：《过洁世同嫌
》）(Liu Juhua: “Too clean to be liked.”) About Green Dam, please see Sky Canaves: “Breaching China’s Green Dam
.” The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009; Rebecca MacKinnon: “The Green Dam Phenomenon
.” Wall Street Journal Asia, June 18, 2009; Alice Xin Liu: “Green Dam delayed – but for how long?
” guardian.co.uk, 1 July 2009.
The complete content of that microblog and its translation is in the “Quotations from Liu Juhua” section of this document. The original link is here
》(Liu Juhua: “To live”)、《苟活着
》(“To live like a dog”)、《新闻业务探讨：转发微博需不需要动脑子？
》(“Discussion on journalism: you don’t need a brain to forward a microblogging?”)、《问心无愧
》(“No shame at all”)、《过洁世同嫌
》(“Too clean to be liked”). All these articles were published on the New Threads and simultaneously on Fang Zhouzi’s blogs.
This statement is based mainly upon circumstantial evidence, which is too numerous to be deliberated here. Also see: 亦明：《方舟子2011年十大要闻
》(Yi Ming: “The top ten news about Fang Zhouzi in 2011.”)
See Wikipedia: Fang Zhouzi
and the links within. Although Michigan State University refused to further investigate the case, Fang was unanimously convicted by a 7-member panel
convened by China Academic Integrity Review. Also, Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein, the victim and a professor at Michigan State University, openly accused Fang of plagiarism
. Also see: Yi Ming: “A Short History of Fang Zhouzi’s Plagiarism of His Professor Dr. Root-Bernstein
》(Yi Ming: “Why Did Fang Zhouzi madly attack Dr. Zhu Xueqin?”); 亦明：《方舟子抄袭剽窃年谱
》(Yi Ming: “Chronicle and Demonstration of Fang Zhouzi’s Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement”); 亦明：《方舟子抄袭剽窃数据库
》(Yi Ming: “The database of Fang Zhouzi’s plagiarism.”)
On November 8, 2010, an anonymous person left a message
on the Internet, showing the title and abstract of Liu’s Master’s thesis. This message was picked up by Hong Qiao
13 days later. Hong Qiao submitted his/her first finding to AIR-China on February 28, 2011, and the finding was passed to Dr. Liao Junlin with Hong Qiao’s consent.
》(Liao Junlin: “Openly laugh at Fang Zhouzi’s fans.”)
》(Liao Junlin: “Let’s appreciate the plagiarism in a Master's thesis of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences”). Also see: 洪荞：《刘菊花的微论文
》(Hong Qiao: “Liu Juhua’s microthesis.”)
China Academic Integrity Review: About Us
. Fang Zhouzi is arguably one of the most hateful people in China right now. According to a vote participated by more than 24,000 people, less than 5% voters think positively or neutrally of Fang. Most people regard him as an internet beggar, a cheater, a thug, a blackmailer
. Another vote participated by more than 50 thousand people revealed that 82% of the voters believe Fang is “The real swindler
.” Yet another vote participated by more than 25,000 people, showed that 90% of them think Fang is the person who spreads the most rumors, slanders and frames the most people on Sina Weibo
, a website Foreign Policy magazine called “the world's best rumor-mongering machine ever
.” The fact is, Fang’s so called “fraud busting” is nothing but a mixed missions of personal revenge [see 亦明：《方舟子陷害肖传国始末
》(Yi Ming: “How Fang Zhouzi Framed Xiao Chuanguo?”)], commercial interests [see Jim Yardley: “Rule by Law: Seeking a Public Voice on China's ‘Angry River’.
” New York Times December 26, 2005. Also see: 亦明：《科唬作家方舟子
》(Yi Ming: “SciFool writer Fang Zhouzi”)], and political agenda (Last November, one member of CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful oligarchy in China, praised Fang Zhouzi for “sharing the sorrow for the party.” The news was revealed by Professor Zhang Ming of Renmin University of China. The original post has been deleted by sina.com.) For Fang’s political involvement, please also see JEREMY PAGE: “RELEASES BY WIKILEAKS INTENSIFY CHINA FEUD
.” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14, 2011. Also see: 亦明：《方舟子与〈中国青年报〉邪恶同盟的终结
》(Yi Ming: “The end of the evil alliance between Fang Zhouzi and China Youth Daily.”)
》(China Academic Integrity Review: “Special collections of Fang Zhouzi’s plagiarism cases.”)
》(Chen Lidan: “I hope Mr. Yi Ming could give detailed evidence showing the plagiarism in Liu Juhua’s Master’s thesis.” ) Chen later deleted the article, the hyperlink is a PDF file of the webpage before the deletion.
There were so many posts on the Internet about Liu’s plagiarism before April 18, 2011. An example is here:《学术评价网网友揭露刘菊花抄袭的帖子链接汇编
》(“The links to the posts exposing Liu Juhua’s plagiarism.”)
The people I invited to participitate in the examination of Liu’s thesis are: Hong Qiao (洪荞), kehua (柯华), Liao Junlin (廖俊林), Xingtan (星探), Aiwaner (爱玩儿). The complete comparison of Liu’s thesis also used the information posted on the Internet by Baizi Xiucai (白字秀才), Zhao Hua (赵华), menkanqing, Sheng Doushi Xingshi (圣斗士星矢).
》(Yi Ming: “Professor Chen Lidan, here is the detailed evidence you asked.”)
》(Chen Lidan: “Mr. Yi Ming’s reply and my opinions.”) Chen later deleted the post, the hyperlink is a PDF file of the webpage before the deletion.
》，《法治周末》2011年4月27日。(Song Xuepeng: “Fang Zhouzi’s backyard on fire, wife’s Master’s thesis suspected plagiarism.” Legal Weekly April 27, 2011.)
Wang Jingqiong: Science cop's wife called plagiarizer
. China Daily April 29, 2011.
》(GSCASS: “The trial Procedures for the Detection of Academic Norms in Theses and Dissertations.”)
The open letter was originally posted on the Internet on February 29, 2012, signed by 154 scholars, to collect more signatures. The number of signees reached 240 by March 15, 2010, when the letter was formally posted on three websites: Academic Criticism
, Academic Integrity
. The hard copy of the letter and the supporting documents were sent to GSCASS, CASS, and relevant agencies in the State Council and Ministry of Education, via express mail.
》(Liu Yingqiu: “Abide by the academic norms, seek academic achievement.” A speech delivered at “Detection of Academic Norms in Theses and Dissertations” preaching meeting.)
Since June 15, 2012, the three websites published the open letter have published three announcements, asking for a response from GSCASS. They are: 《请问中国社科院研究生院刘迎秋院长收到公开举报信否？ ——关于〈海内外240位学人就刘菊花硕士论文涉嫌抄袭事件公开信〉公告第一号
》(“May we ask the dean of GSCASS Dr. Liu Yingqiu: have you received the open letter yet?— The First Announcement regarding the open letter”)、《“学问可以高低并存，但学风不能正邪同在”—— 关于《海内外240位学人就刘菊花硕士论文涉嫌抄袭事件公开信》公告第二号
》(“’We can endure the mediocrity in scholarship, but we can absolutely not live under the same sky with the evils threatening academic integrity’—The Second Announcement regarding the open letter.”) The third announcement is attached in the appendices.