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Part XXX: Why Was Albert Yuan Invited to Nominate Fang? (9045 查看)

August 20, 2013 04:28PM
【Note: The PDF file is more reader-friendly. Click the title to open it.】

Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ── An Open Letter to Nature (Part XXX)

Xin Ge, Ph. D.
Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Why Fang Shi-min Was Awarded the John Maddox Prize (V): Why Was Albert Yuan Invited to Nominate Fang?


1. The Mysterious Relationship between Fang and Yuan

(1) Friendship between Natural Enemies
(2) A Person with a Foot in Both Camps

2. GMO: The Unbreakable Tie between Fang and Yuan

(1) Promotion at any Cost
(2) For the Sake of Money
(3) The Business Partner

3. Yuan’s Mysterious Foreign Connections

(1) An American Citizen
(2) A British Agent
(3) Comrade Yuan Found his Party

4. Making Sense of Sense About Science

5. Concluding Remarks


On Oct. 16, 2012, Yuan posted the following message on his microblog:

“Just received a piece of good news about China’s science. Although it is not in the same rank as Nobel Prize, it is worthy of congratulation nonetheless. Because the organizer has asked for secrecy, I’ll announce the specifics after a while. Congratulate somebody!”[1]

On Nov. 7, 2012, the first message Yuan posted on his microblog was the following:

“The secret is out: Congratulate Fang Zhouzi on receiving this year’s John Maddox Scientific Contribution Prize. The Prize [winners] were jointly selected by journal Nature and a British science popularization organization Sense About Science. I recommended Old Fang, and he eventually shared the Prize with another person.”[2]

One day later, Mr. Yuan posted his recommendation letter on his blog, with a brief note, in which he wrote:

“The organizer asked me to recommend a candidate, and I recommended Fang Zhouzi.”[3]

According to the editorial by Nature, the John Maddox Prize was “sponsored by Nature and the Kohn Foundation, and stimulated and organized by the UK-based charity Sense About Science,” thus we know that Mr. Yuan was asked by Sense About Science (SAS) to make a nomination. The question is: Why Did SAS pick Mr. Yuan to recommend Fang? What were the relationships among SAS, Albert Yuan, and Fang? I’ll try to answer these two questions in this part of my Open Letter to Nature.

1. The Mysterious Relationship between Fang and Yuan

(1) Friendship between Natural Enemies

I have mentioned before that Fang is a person who is extremely sensitive to his territories, and he wants nothing but an absolute control over whatever domain he has invaded. For example, in the fraud busting business, if anyone dares to bust frauds independently, i. e. not under his banner, Fang would definitely bust that person – one example is what he did to Dr. Yang Yusheng of China University of Political Science and Law[4]. In the science popularization field, Fang was the very person who single-handedly derailed the Mystery Project, a project aimed at popularizing scientific knowledge to Chinese youth by overseas Chinese students and scholars in 1990s[5]. Since 2000, Fang has attacked so many people for their science popularization writings, including Dr. Wu Bolin of Harvard[6], and Dr. Kenneth Hsu (许靖华), a renowned geologist and paleoclimatologist based in Swiss[7]. If these attacks could be attributed to the difference in opinions, then his attacks on the Scientific Squirrel Club and its sister website, guokr.com, as well as on Zhu Yi and Wang Zebin, are completely senseless, as Mr. Wang Zhian, a CCTV commentator and one of Fang’s supporters, put it: more than 99% of their opinions are the same [8].

What more astonishing is Fang’s viciousness when he levels his attacks on other science writers: he wants nothing but expelling them out of science popularization business and shut them up completely. That’s why he initiated the months-long fights against Dr. Zhu and Mr. Wang, and that’s why Fang wrote the letter requesting the revocation of Dr. Zhu Yi’s doctoral degree[9].

Therefore, when music critic Yuan entered into the science popularization domain in China, he immediately made himself a perfect object for Fang’s bloody chopper. However, the natural enemies have been the closest ally since then - even considering Yuan’s shameless adulation of Fang, it is still a little surprising.

The fact is, besides Yuan’s fake doctorate credential, fake “mainstream scientist” resume, and his fraudulent way of science writing – based entirely on the second-hand materials, which was the very official reason Fang used for his attack on Dr. Wu Bolin in 2000, there are much more reasons for Fang to bust Yuan.

For example, Fang hates Lamarckism, believing it is anti-Darwinism and a pseudoscience, and labeling his enemies with a Lamarckian tag has been Fang’s way of fending off the criticisms against him[10]. It seems that Fang has absolutely no ideas that recent discoveries have demonstrated that Lamarck was not completely wrong[11]. Yuan, on the other hand, is a Lamarckian, even though he might have not realized that based on his meager knowledge in biology. For example, in an article published in 2013 in Life Weekly, Yuan wrote:

“Most beneficial genes were generated by evolution after hundreds and thousands of years. For example, a certain wild corn grew in arid area, then the anti-drought genes evolved.”[12]

What Yuan said above not only sounds like Lamarckism - environmental influence is inheritable, it is truly anti-Darwinism: gene mutations are directional. However, Fang recommended the article on his microblog and published it on his New Threads, without any criticism[13].

In November 2010, Fang initiated a fight with Mr. Zhou Libo (周立波), a stand-up comedian based in Shanghai. Facing with fierce counterattack from Mr. Zhou, Fang began to attack his private life:

“Zhou Libo’s ex-wife showed the video of his taking drug. It seems that the video didn’t show he got online after the smoking. It is a waste that he is so high on the internet.”[14]

However, Mr. Yuan has been repeatedly bragging his marijuana-smoking history[15], and it seems that squeamish Fang doesn’t mind it at all. In December 2010, Pan Haidong’s hudong.com named Fang Person of the Year. Fang commented: “Local Motor (Yuan Yue) was also a candidate. Next year let’s push him [to win the award].”[16]

Therefore, there must be something unusual about Yuan which has the capability to shut down the expression of Fang’s jealous genes.

(2) A Person with a Foot in Both Camps

The most unbelievable thing is, Yuan has been a close friend of Mr. Luo Yonghao, one of Fang’s most hated archenemies. It is a consensus among the people who know Fang, either Fang-lovers or Fang-haters, that Fang is extremely narrow-minded and jealous, he would absolutely not tolerate his followers to be friends with his enemies. The fact is, one of the major reasons for Fang’s break up in early 2000s with Dr. Liu Huajie, one of Fang’s major benefactors, was because Dr. Liu kept a close tie with Drs. Wu Guosheng and Liu Bing, Fang’s chief enemies during that period.

In fact, Fang’s hatred towards Mr. Luo Yonghao is comparable to, if not more than, his hatred towards Dr. Xiao Chuanguo. In April 2013, a TV host asked Fang: whom do you hate the most? Fang blurted out: “Luo Yonghao and Xiao Chuanguo.”[17]. And Fang’s famous vow, spending his rest life to “kill pig,” was targeting at Mr. Luo[18]. Furthermore, Fang admitted that his hatred towards Mr. Luo was pure personal animosity[19].

Although Fang has tried really hard to let other people believe that his hatred towards Luo was because of Luo’s public denouncement of his wife’s plagiarism, however, that was not the real reason at all. The real reasons behind the hatred are, first of all, Mr. Luo is a high school dropout, he has never received a college education, but it seems that he is more successful in China than Fang is. Fang, as well as Yuan, is extremely proud of his test scores in the College Entrance Examination, which Fang, as well as Yuan, believes indicate his extraordinary high IQ, and entitles him to a prominent position in China. Therefore, Fang is extremely jealous and resents Lou’s apparent success and popularity, believing that Chinese society is permeated with sentiment of anti-intellectualism, and it is one of the reasons Fang hates Chinese so much.

Secondly, the initial cause of the animosity between Fang and Luo was over a TV hostess, Ms. Chai Jing, in 2007, who is also a friend of Yuan’s. The end result of the fight was that Fang left Lou’s website, bullog.cn, and Mr. Luo revealed many secrets about Fang, including he sent his lawyer Peng Jian to ask Luo to close some blogs Fang believed belonging to Fang-haters[20].

The third and the most important reason that Fang hates Mr. Luo so much is that in early 2012, Mr. Luo led a group of news reporters to report Fang’s illegal fund-raising and tax evasion. Partly because of Luo’s celebrity status, the incident became national news, and Fang was deeply humiliated[21]. Also, Mr. Luo video tapped his encounter with Fang shortly after reporting the fraud to the government, asking him why he hadn’t made the expenditure of his “Fraud Busting Fund” public as he promised. That video clip, showing that Fang was cowardly pretending to play with his cell phone, neither dared to look at Luo eye to eye, nor dared to speak to Luo face to face, was watched by millions of internet users, and Fang’s fighter’s image has forever gone in the brains of common Chinese[22].

The fraud buster was busted!
On March 22, 2012, Lou Yonghao led a troop of reporters went to the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China, Chaoyang District Local Taxation Bureau of Beijing, and Haidian District Police Department of Beijing to report Fang Zhouzi’s illegal and criminal fund raising and tax evasion. The case was accepted by the Haidian District Police Department, but the investigation results have not been made public as of August 2013.

The fact is, Fang hates Mr. Luo so much that even Luo’s employees and investors became Fang’s enemies: Fang personally issued many threats to these people for their association with Luo[23].

Guilty by association
On Dec. 29, 2011, Fang posted the photos of Luo’s employees on his microblog, instigating his followers to dig up their private information to see whether they worked illegally for Mr. Lou Yonghao.
(See: 2011-12-29 19:44).

Surprisingly, Mr. Yuan has never hid his friendship with and affection to Old Luo: in his blog, there are many articles mentioning Old Luo, even in his article Talk about Fang Zhouzi, Yuan mentioned Old Luo, saying Luo is much more eloquent and interesting than Fang is[24]. The unthinkable thing is, Fang published the article on the New Threads[25]. On July 23, 2010, Yuan not only went to Luo’s birthday party, he went so far as to specially wrote an article wishing Old Luo happy birthday[26]. In December 2011, when Fang and Lou’s fight turned white-hot, one of Fang’s followers tried to sow discord between the two, complaining that Yuan could not recognize Luo’s true colors. Fang defended Yuan by saying:

“Whether other people could or couldn’t recognize [Luo’s true colors] isn’t my business, [how could I] force him to break up [with Luo] for that reason?”[27]

To the best of my knowledge, Yuan is the only person among Fang’s followers who dares to and does have a foot in Fang’s enemy’s camp.

2. GMO: The Unbreakable Tie between Fang and Yuan

So, why has Fang been so kind to Yuan? Of course, Yuan’s flattery to Fang and his attacks on Fang’s enemies other than Luo are very important. However, such things are being done by Fang’s other followers constantly, so they cannot be the key reasons. The only educated plausible guess is Yuan’s stance on GMO. As a matter of fact, since the expulsion of Jia Hepeng and Fang Xuanchang from China’s media in 2011[28], Yuan has become Fang’s only firm follower in China’s mainstream media in the GMO front. In other words, Fang couldn’t afford to loss Yuan, that’s how important the GMO issue to Fang.

So, exactly how important the GMO issue to Fang is? The answer is: Paramount!

(1) Promotion at any Cost

As I have mentioned many times, Fang has been the number one promoter and salesman of GM food in China since early 2000s, coincidental with his employment with that mysterious bio-info or biotech company in the United States. Since Fang has neither training nor knowledge in plant biotechnology, food science, or GMO, he promotes GMO mainly by scifooling, which alone is more than enough to prove that his promotion of GMO is motivated by personal interest, rather than science or conscience, as he has claimed since 2004[29].

Since May 2013, Fang has plotted a national campaign to “taste the GM rice.” It looks that Fang’s plan was to have his followers in each province or region in China to get together and eat GM rice publicly, and then upload the photos of the events onto the internet. Fang would repost the photos on his microblog as a final approval. The participants were encouraged to wear T-shirts with Fang’s slogans such as “There is science in brain, there is justice in heart,” and hold a banner saying “The First GM Rice Tasting Gathering in xxx Province/city,” etc. Every gathering should have a banner stating clearly the activity is for pro-GMO, and have the indication that they did so in responding to Fang’s call. Therefore, the photos must have functions other than science popularization: they are used by Fang as the evidence for his fulfillment of his secret mission.

Farces directed by Fang Zhouzi and played by his science Nazis
Since May 2013, Fang has been demanding his followers to perform the art of GM rice tasting in public, to show that the food is safe and have consumer market. The events have to be photographed and posted online and get approval from Fang.

It seemed that everything went according to the plan, until the gathering in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, uploaded their photos: the photos were so fuzzy that they must have been intentionally made so. Fang was very upset. He rebuked his followers:

“Every tasting gathering across the country has showed their faces, only Changsha is an exception. If you don’t have the guts, why bother to do it in the first place? The tasting gathering is the announcement conference, you think it is a joke? Since when did Hunanese become such cowards?”[30]

Under Fang’s pressure, the Hunanese held another gathering 20 days later, and uploaded the photos with high resolution. Fang was delighted:

“These photos are very comprehensive, from every angle. They could be used as specimen for the upcoming GM rice tasting book.”[31]

The sad thing is, after posting these HD photos, the identity of one of Fang’s biggest donors was dug up - it turned he had invested heavily on TCM drugs[32]. Obviously, the donations that person made to Fang was a fee he had to pay to avoid Fang and his gangsters’ “fraud busting.” In other words, Fang and his gangsters are Chinese mafia.

Two GMO promotion gatherings in Changsha
Left: On June 23, 2013, some Fang’s followers got together in Changsha to taste GM rice. They intentionally posted their blurred photos on the internet so that their true identities won't be revealed, meanwhile fulfilling Fang’s mandate[30].

Right: After Fang’s harsh reprimend, the Changsha followers had to hold another gathering on July 13, and post their high defination photos[31].

Trying to appease the fee-payer’s resentfulness, Fang let his second older sister, Fang Yunhuan (方云环), to reveal her identity, and it turned out that she had been touting Fang, attacking Fang’s enemies using various web IDs in the past several years[33].

Yes, GMO to Fang is more important than his family.

An evil brother-sister ally
The true identity of Ms. Fang Yunhuan (left) under different web IDs had been under suspicion for many years, mainly because of her lavish extolment of Fang (middle) and vicious attack on Fang’s enemies. On July 25, 2013, she finally admitted that she is Fang’s second older sister by posting her photo with another person (right, see: 2013-07-25 18:10), obviously under Fang’s instruction to appease his big donor’s anger.

(2) For the Sake of Money

The nature of these GM rice tasting activities was revealed explicitly just a few weeks ago.

On August 7, 2013, Mr. Wang Zhian, Fang’s follower and CCTV commentator, announced that he would organize an event named “The First GM Food Tasting and Science Popularization Enthusiasts Friendship Gathering”[34]. Fang was threatened by the planned event so much that he immediately initiated a smearing campaign against it, first by attacking Mr. Wang’s “science popularization enthusiasts,” saying they are fakers because they include Dr. Zhu Yi, Scientific Squirrel Club, guokr.com, etc.[35]; then by mocking Wang for his using of the word “first,” because Fang had already organized the “first tasting” of GM rice in Beijing earlier[36]; and finally threatening Wang that if he gets the GM foods illegally he might get himself in big trouble[37].

Obviously, Fang takes Wang as his GMO business competitor, just like he took Dr. Zhu Yi as his business competitor in science popularization market.

At the same time when Fang Zhouzi was trying his butt off to destroy Mr. Wang’s GM food tasting plan, his buddy Fang Xuanchang launched a sudden attack on Scientific Squirrel Club/guokr.com, saying that they had a history of anti-GMO[38], obviously trying to disqualify them from promoting GM food. The reason behind the attack was that the two Fangs were applying for the GMO Science Popularization Special Fund from China’s Ministry of Agriculture[39], and they thought the Scientific Squirrel Club is their business enemy. The thing is, the Squirrel Club - or “Rodent Club,” according to Fang Zhouzi - has been one of the GMO forces’ strongholds, so how could they oppose GMO? As a matter of fact, both Squirrel Club and guokr.com confronted Fang Xuanchang with the same question, and the latter’s reply: first, several members of the club expressed their concern about the safety of GMO a few years earlier; second, Mr. Xu Lai, the editor-in-chief of guokr.com, made an inappropriate comment on GMO just a few days ago[40]. So, what was Mr. Xu’s inappropriate comment? It turned out that on July 13, 2013, one person complained that the taste of GM rice is not very good, and Mr. Xu replied:

“This is currently the fatal spot of GMO’s commercialization. The advantages of GMO are mainly shown in the production and distribution processes, not in the consumption process. Although there are some advantages to the consumers, such as Golden Rice, the taste……”[41]

And that was his anti-GMO crime. Such a frame-up generated strong reactions on the internet, and Fang Xuanchang was accused of “manufacturing conflicts and splits” to compete for Ministry of Agriculture’s GMO Science Popularization Special Fund. Then Fang Zhouzi jumped out:

“This time the Rodent Club came out prepared. They made phone calls and recorded [the conversations] secretly, launched group attacks, it seems that they are coveting the science popularization fund?”[42]

Does anyone still believe that Fang’s promotion of GMO is “standing-up for science”?

(3) The Business Partner

Admittedly, Yuan didn’t participate in the dogfights among the GMO promoters in China, probably because he doesn’t need to compete for the domestic funds for living. However, Yuan’s attitude towards GMO is nonetheless steadfast.

In May 2010, Yuan and the two Fangs joined hands together to give a talk about GMO[43]. That event signified that the partnership between the two had reached a new level.

Fang Zhouzi, Yuan Yue, and Fang Xuanchang were promoting GMO in Beijing on May 22, 2010

In June 2010, someone posted on weibo.com the link to Food, Inc., a documentary film about the American food industry. A person made the following comment:

“China is the same. Nowadays, some so called scholars are doing their best to promote GMO under the mask of science, they must be supported by the interest groups. On weibo.com they are Fang Zhouzi and Local Motor.”[44]

And Yuan responded by a storm of abuse:

“Fuck you! Translated into Chinese it means ‘Fuck your mother’!”[45]

In June 2011, Yuan posted the following message:

“Under the influence of alcohol, I argued with a few foreign journalists on nuclear power, GMO, climate changes, etc. I found out that these science journalists from Europe and South America are also the same addle heads [as the Chinese science journalists].”[46]

In July 2012, Yuan posted the following message on his microblog:

“Whenever I talk about GMO, someone will come to me to spread rumors. I block them whenever I see them, without any mercy. The goal of these people is to create suspicion among the public by spreading rumors, so you loss if you debate with them. These people please don’t come to me for ‘democracy’ any more, get out, turn right, there are so much [democracy over there.]”[47]

It is extremely difficult for me to understand Yuan’s logic that by arguing with the rumor spreaders he loses automatically. Isn’t he supposed to believe that the truth holders will defeat the rumor spreaders? Or maybe he believes deep in his heart that he is the rumor spreader? For whatever reason, he advised the organizer of the John Maddox Prize the same thing – Don’t argue with the rumor spreaders – in November 2012 (more on this later).

Close ally for promoting GMO in China
In July 2012, Yuan was hired by hudong.com as a science advisor. Every advisor hired on that day was recommended by Fang Zhouzi, the chief science advisor of the online firm. The red oval highlights Fang and Yuan who were engaged in an intimate talk on the stage in the announcement ceremony. To the left was Mr. Sima Nan, an extreme leftist and Fang’s close friend.
(See: [v.youku.com]).

In June 2013, the GMO forces in China set up a website, Gene Agriculture Network (基因农业网), to promote GMO. There is no doubt that Fang Zhouzi was behind the website, because his buddy Fang Xuanchang, whose journalist eligibility was revoked two years ago[28], was “appointed” as its editor-in-chief. The latter Fang’s very first achievement in his new job was that he, following Fang Zhouzi’s order, drafted an open letter to silence a TV program because it had expressed opinions against GMO[48].And among the first articles published by the network was Yuan’s What China Really Needs is the GMO Commercialization Thinking[49].

The Gang of Three for GMO merges on the Gene Agriculture Network

The fact is, the reasons Yuan has cited for his promoting GMO in China are so stupid that it is obvious that his motive is anything but science. For example, in the June 2013 TV debate on GMO, someone said that he supports the research on GM technology, but opposes the application of the technology on the staple food. To this opinion, Yuan refuted:

“What I want to tell you is, there is no Lei Feng [a selfless model created by CCP in 1960s] in this world, if you let him do research only, but don’t allow him to commercialize [his results], he won’t have the motivation [to do the research.]”[50]

In other words, Yuan believes that everyone in this world is doing things for money and profit. No wonder the person Yuan was refuting against burst into laughter after hearing what Yuan said. Apparently he was humiliated during the recording of the program, Yuan wrote an article to scold the program, in the article, Yuan used the word “fuck” five times[51]. It seems impossible to find a GMO promoter who is more stupid than Yuan is.

Then, the question is: what is the motivation of Mr. Yuan, a self-proclaimed “mainstream scientist” and a secretive American passport holder, to desperately promote GMO in China?

A voluntary confession
The “mainstream scientist” fake Dr. Yuan tells his opponent: If you don’t allow scientists to profit from their research, they won’t have the motivation to conduct their research.

3. Yuan’s Mysterious Foreign Connections

I have mentioned before that Yuan’s sudden fame in China has many mysterious reasons. Why did I say so? Because Mr. Yuan has minimal qualification as a scientist, no qualification as a journalist, and his Chinese writing level is elementary at the most. Furthermore, Mr. Yuan had shown no interest in either science or journalism before he was hired by Life Weekly. So, how could such a person suddenly become a “famous science writer/journalist” in China?

(1) An American Citizen

According to Yuan, by early 2011, he had visited more than 50 countries, including the countries which do not speak English[52]. It is a mystery why he was sent to these places. On the other hand, Yuan’s tourist/geographic writings are not really prolific, and far less influential or popular than his science writing, so it makes people wonder how the magazine got so much money and why they invested so much money on this semi-amateur science journalist, and on something unrelated to his column, Life Gossips. It seems to me that Yuan must be the most overpaid journalist in China, and considering his travel expenses, his articles must be the most expensive ones.

In November 2012, Yuan gave a talk entitled How to Fool Your Employer to Give You Money for Your Travel[53]. Unfortunately, after reading the transcript of the talk, I still couldn’t figure out how Yuan’s employer was fooled by Yuan. Therefore, the simplest answer is that the money they spent was not their own. In other words, Life Weekly acted as a hub or platform for the transactions. Indeed, according to Yuan’s bragging, many of his foreign trips were financially sponsored by foreign governments or organizations[54].

In 2010, Yuan visited Canada with a group of people, and according to Yuan, they lived in the most expensive hotel in Montréal, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth[55]. According to a person in the group, Yuan held an American passport[56]. No wonder Yuan announced that if the right-wing liberals take over China, he will leave the country immediately[57]. It appears that he has already figured out his way out when he “returned” to China in 2005.

On the other hand, Yuan’s name could not be found on China’s Journalist Network, a website maintained by the General Administration of Press and Publication of China. In other words, Yuan is not a real journalist, despite the fact that he has been working as a journalist in China and around the world for more than eight years.

Yuan Yue is not a registered Chinese journalist
Yuan’s identity as a China’s journalist is not confirmed by the Chinese government certification system (upper panel, the words in the black box say: “Could not find the information you are searching for”), while the identities of two other journalists with Life Weekly could be easily found (lower panel, the red boxes highlight their institution name, Life Weekly. Their names, ID numbers, and photos are concealed to protect their privacy.)

The interesting thing is, in 2010, Yuan revealed that in order to get the information he needed, he pretended to be a faculty member in a university, because the local people disliked journalists[58]. It seems the ill-feeling is more than justified.

(2) A British Agent

Among the countries Yuan has visited, UK is probably his most frequent destination. According to him, he has visited UK at least once a year since 2007[59], when he received the “Reed Elsevier UK-China Science Journalism Prize.”[60] The record of the Prize on the official website of Elsevier says:

“Six talented Chinese journalists representing a range of media including the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and China Central Television are awarded the UK-China Reed Elsevier (RE) Science Journalism Prize for excellent mainstream science and technology (S&T) reporting.”

The Prize gave the recipients “fully-funded visits to Britain’s leading scientific institutions”[61].

The strange thing about the UK-China Reed Elsevier (RE) Science Journalism Prize is that it was announced on Science and Development Network, a website set up by Mr. David Dickson in 2001. Why is it strange? Because Mr. Jia Hepeng had been its China Regional Coordinator since 2006[62], and he promoted the network on the New Threads as “originated from journal Nature,”[63] and promoted Fang on the network as “China's 'science police.'”[64] Mr. Jia took over Science News, a sub magazine of China Science Daily, in 2009, and he, together with Fang Xuanchang, immediately implemented Fang Zhouzi’s plots against Chinese seismologists in May, and Dr. Xiao Chuanguo in October[65]. It is rather surprising to me to find out that the two of Fang’s gangsters had a British connection back in 2007.

Double agents
Jia Hepeng (left), whose journalist eligibility was revoked by Chinese government in 2011, has contributed to journal Nature, Nature Medicine, SciDev.net, and Science magazine;

Yuan’s love for UK seems stronger than his love for USA, his second motherland.

In early 2010, Yuan went to UK again, and the result of the trip was an article, Climate Chang: The New Battleground for Science and Media[66]. According to Yuan, the article won him two awards, one from a Chinese NGO (worth 10,000 RMcool smiley, the other was from British Embassy in China, which sponsored Yuan to Cancun, Mexico, to participate in the Cancun Climate Change Conference[67]. In that meeting, both Yuan and Fang Xuanchang were featured in a British Council’s pamphlet (see picture below).

Talent Show
On Nov. 30, 2010, Yuan posted the above picture on his microblog with the following message: “Every COP conference has a ‘Talent Show Hall,’ where is the place for agencies to propagandize themselves. The booth of British Embassy’s Cultural and Education Section is very conspicuous, right in the center is my picture, the one next to me is classmate Fang Xuanchang.”[68]
(Note: The red oval is added by XG, showing Yuan in blue and Fang next to him.)

On Nov. 18, 2011, Yuan showed off the hotel he was staying in London, Mandarin Oriental[69].

(3) Comrade Yuan Found his Party

The British VC does get its money’s worth. Yuan’s first trip to London yielded an article, How Should I Resist You, GreenPeace? The article was initially published on www.bullog.cn, but Fang re-published it on his New Threads on June 6, 2007[70]. In the article, Yuan introduced Susan Greenfield and the Science Media Centre (SMC). According to Yuan, when he was in London, he participated in two media briefings hosted by SMC, and one of them was about GMO. Based on the briefing, Yuan wrote an article, The Footprints of Agriculture, which was published in Life Weekly[71]. It seems that was the beginning of Yuan’s GMO promotion career.

Needless to say, SMC is a pro-GMO organization. An article published in Nature says:

“The London SMC was set up because UK scientific leaders were upset that environmentalists had successfully fought the introduction of genetically modified food; they felt that the UK media were too susceptible to environmental scare stories about new technologies.”[72]

However, Yuan later developed a closer relationship with London-based Sense About Science, a replica or a duplicate of SMC, and a self-proclaimed science popularization organization.

In February 2012, Yuan participated in the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. According to Yuan, he was a speaker in the meeting:

“This is the first time I participate in this kind of meetings as a speaker. I’ll introduce the history of earthquake prediction in China, and a series of quackeries generated after the Japanese earthquake, discuss the relationships among media, politics and public policy on science and technology.”[73]

The question is, how could this music critic turned science writer, who was trained as a biologist, and who “conducted research on molecular biology in the United States for 15 years,” suddenly evolved into an expert in earthquake prediction? Who invited him to speak in the meeting? Here is Yuan’s answer:

“The British organization Sense About Science, which provided the financial support for me to take part in the meeting here, is also all women. This year is also the 10th anniversary of the organization. Salute these women who love science!”[74]

Apparently, “The British organization Sense About Science” not only gave Yuan the money to participate in the meeting, they also invited Yuan to give the talk. According to the website of 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting, Sense About Science was the organizer and the moderator of the session named “Misreporting Fukushima: A Failure of Science Journalism with Global Repercussions?” and what Yuan did in the session was nothing but parroting Fang and his gangsters’ shameless slanders to Chinese seismologists in the past two thousand years. Here is the abstract of Yuan’s talk:

Seismic Quackery, Earthquake Prediction, and Panic

Albert Yuan , San Lian Life Weekly, Beijing, China

Earthquake Prediction has a long history in China. Chinese school textbooks during Cultural Revolution claimed that Zhang Heng, a Chinese astronomer who lived in Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE) built the world's first Earthquake predictor. Although his invention was later on changed to a mere seismometer, his legacy lives on. Hai Cheng earthquake in 1975 was declared a victory of earthquake prediction network established by Chinese government. And the failure to predict Tang Shan earthquake in 1976 was widely criticized by the public, which prompt the government to form the Institute of Earthquake Prediction in 1980. In the mean time, there are a lot of pseudo-scientists claimed that they have found the secret of earthquake. But most of their methods involved abnormal behavior of animals, a notoriously unreliable indicator of earthquake prediction. Wen Chuan earthquake in 2008 again started the public debate about the validity of earthquake prediction, with many believers claimed that the Institute of Earthquake failed, with political purposes,to declare the upcoming earthquake, therefore the Institute should be charged with misconduct. This new wave of public outcry successfully swayed the public attention from the poor quality of buildings to a false culprit-the earthquake scientists.

A British organization invited an American “mainstream biologist” to smear Chinese seismologists on an international stage. The inset photo is from SAS website, showing Ms. Tracey Brown (right), the managing director of SAS, sitting side by side with Yuan.

Apparently, SAS the organizer was very pleased with Yuan’s performance in that AAAS meeting, so 5 months later, they went together again to Euroscience Open Forum held in Dublin, Ireland. It is unknown whether Yuan’s expenses were paid by SAS. However, it is known that one month later, Yuan submitted to SAS his nomination of Fang for the John Maddox Prize. In September, Yuan personally visited the headquarter of SAS in London[75], and in October, he was informed in advance that his nomination was approved[1]. It seems that they were so close that they were inseparable!

In July 2012, Yuan and SAS joined hands together again to participate in the Euroscience Open Forum. The inset photo is from SAS website, showing Yuan was talking. Please note that the one of the themes of the program was “myth-busting,” and Yuan tailored his nomination of Fang one month later to “the leading myth-buster in China.”

In 2013, Yuan was promoted by SAS to the rank of “co-organizer,” in the AAAS annual meeting held in Boston, and his organizing activity was inviting a Canadian Chinese to bust Chinese seismologists, again:

“I participated in the AAAS meeting as one of the organizers, the topic of our seminar was ‘Predicting Major Events and Planning for Hazards: An Art or Science?’ We specially invited teacher Wang Kelin, who is currently work in the Geological Survey of Canada, to talk about chaos in China’s earthquake prediction.”[76]

A Chinese idiom goes: “[I’ll] have breakfast only after the enemy is wiping out.” (灭此朝食). It seems that SAS and Yuan have found their common enemies in these Chinese seismologists, and they are determined to wipe them out, in the name of science. I am extremely curious about the reason why these Chinese seismologists bother them so much?

The American-British ally fought Chinese, again

Of course, the collaboration between SAS and Yuan continues till today. In May 2013, SAS announced the release of the Chinese version of their propaganda brochure, I Don't Know What to Believe, translated by Yuan[77]. According to the announcement, “The guide is produced and distributed with sponsorship and assistance from Elsevier……”

Does anyone till remember that Yuan received a prize from Reed-Elsevier in 2007?

The American-British ally invades China
Yuan Yue (left), the cover of the Chinese version of SAS publication, I Don't Know What to Believe, and Ms. Tracey Brown, the managing director of SAS.
(Source: Chinese guide to peer review aims to help public make sense of science claims).

4. Making Sense of Sense About Science

So, exactly who is this Sense About Science? Why do they like Yuan so much? Why do they pay so much attention to China and Chinese?

According to Wikipedia:

“Since its founding, Sense About Science has contributed to UK public debates about such subjects as alternative medicine, …, genetically modified food, …, vaccination, …, nuclear power, and the use and utility of peer review.”[78]

Coincidentally, these subjects have found their echoes in both Fang and Yuan’s writings and actions.

As a matter of fact, like SMC, SAS “was created just in time for the UK's official GM Public Debate,”[79] according to Powerbase, “a free encyclopedia of people, issues, and groups shaping the public agenda.” Here are more descriptions of the organization from the same webpage:

“In 2003 the GM Public Debate showed an overwhelming level of public opposition to GM crop commercialisation.[18] In a double blow to GM proponents, the UK government's farm scale evaluations (FSEs) had shown a generally discouraging environmental impact from the GM crops trialed.[19][20][21]

“Sense About Science launched a media campaign in an apparent attempt to limit the damage to GM caused by these two events.

“On the eve of the 2003 publication of the first round of the FSE results, an article, based on the preliminary findings of a survey organised by Sense About Science, of institutes carrying out GM crop trials appeared in The Times under the headline, ‘GM vandals force science firms to reduce research’.[22] Sense About Science's director, Tracey Brown, was quoted in the article as saying, ‘The burden of trying to organise the research community to pre-empt and protect from vandalism is potentially disastrous.’[23]

“Articles in the Times Higher Education (THE) and elsewhere went still further, suggesting the GM Public Debate had been 'hijacked' by 'activists' and that GM plant researchers were being subjected to physical and mental abuse, leading some to take jobs abroad. One THE article, headlined, ‘Scientists quit UK amid GM attacks’,[24] included claims of intimidation by Chris Leaver (a Sense About Science trustee[25]) and the late Mike Wilson (then a Sense About Science advisory panelist).[26]”

And here are a few paragraphs about SAS and Ms. Brown in an article written by Mr. George Monbiot and published in the Guardian in 2003[80]:

“Let us begin with the Association for Sense About Science (SAS), the lobby group chaired by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne, and whose board contains such prominent scientists as Professor Sir Brian Heap, Professor Dame Bridget Ogilvie and Sir John Maddox. In October it organised a letter to the Times by 114 scientists, complaining that the government had failed to make the case for genetic engineering. In response, Tony Blair told the Commons that he had not ruled out the commercialisation of GM crops in Britain. The phone number for Sense About Science is shared by the "publishing house" Global Futures. One of its two trustees is Phil Mullan, a former RCP activist and LM contributor who is listed as the registrant of Spiked magazine's website. The only publication on the Global Futures site is a paper by Frank Furedi, the godfather of the cult. The assistant director of Sense About Science, Ellen Raphael, is the contact person for Global Futures. The director of SAS, Tracey Brown, has written for both LM and Spiked and has published a book with the Institute of Ideas: all of them RCP spin-offs. Both Brown and Raphael studied under Frank Furedi at the University of Kent, before working for the PR firm Regester Larkin, which defends companies such as the biotech giants Aventis CropScience, Bayer and Pfizer against consumer and environmental campaigners. Brown's address is shared by Adam Burgess, also a contributor to LM. LM's health writer, Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, is a trustee of both Global Futures and Sense About Science.

“SAS has set up a working party on peer review, which is chaired and hosted by the Royal Society. One of its members is Tony Gilland, who is science and society director at the Institute of Ideas, a contributor to both LM and Spiked and the joint author of the proposal Frank Furedi made to the supermarkets. Another is Fiona Fox, the sister of Claire Fox, who runs the Institute of Ideas. Fiona Fox was a frequent contributor to LM. One of her articles generated outrage among human rights campaigners by denying that there had been a genocide in Rwanda.

“Fiona Fox is also the director of the Science Media Centre, the public relations body set up by Baroness Susan Greenfield of the Royal Institution. It is funded, among others, by the pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca, Dupont and Pfizer. Fox has used the Science Media Centre to promote the views of industry and to launch fierce attacks against those who question them. She ran the campaign, for example, to rubbish last year's BBC drama Fields of Gold.”

In 2009, SAS was criticized for their “not declaring GM interests” in one of their pro-GMO publications, Making Sense of GM[81].

In 2012, both SAS and Ms. Tracey Brown were criticized for their pro-GMO practice:

“The Managing Director of Sense About Science is part of the notorious LM (Living Marxism) network who eulogise technologies like genetic engineering and reproductive cloning and are extremely hostile to environmentalists whom they brand as Nazis. Internal memos in the Tobacco Documents Library also show that prior to Sense About Science, Tracey Brown approached BAT Industries (British American Tobacco) offering to help them undermine the litigation launched against tobacco companies by people harmed by smoking. No industry has done more than Big Tobacco to manipulate, halt, undermine, and otherwise discredit scientific research."[82]

Both Powerbase and SourceWatch, a publication by the Center for Media and Democracy, a non-profit investigative reporting group based in the United States, introduce Ms. Tracey Brown as following:

“Tracey Brown is the Director of pro-GM lobbyists Sense about Science. As an associate of the British libertarian LM group, her writing has been published by Living Marxism, Spiked Online and the Institute of Ideas.”

It seems that the American-British-Chinese ally shares not only the same interest in GMO, they shares the same political ideology as well. On Jan. 9, 2013, Yuan posted:

“I’m not afraid of GMO opponents, I’m not afraid of TCM proponents, I’m not even afraid of those religious people. I’m only afraid of those right wing people. If they someday take over the [political] power, I’ll immediately leave [China].”[57]

As for Fang, although he had been trying really hard to hide his political position before the initiation of his downfall in late 2010, triggered by the incident of “Brawl in Beijing,” the facts that he maintains extraordinary close ties with China’s top left extremists, namely Mr. Sima Nan, Dr. Kong Qingdong, and Mr. Hu Xijin; and his constant attack on China’s liberal intellectuals, demonstrate unambiguously to which side he is leaning. As a matter of fact, in 2011, an official in Chongqing, then the Red Capital of China, sent him a letter to thank his defense for their brutal treatment of common people[83].

Being thanked for defending brutality
On June 14, 2011, a female fruit peddler in Chongqing fell unconscious as a result of a dispute with the city management officials (left). Fang, together with leftist Sima Nan, insisted that the woman fell on her own. On June 17, Fang posted a letter sent to him from an official of Chongqing government thanking him for defending them. However, the leading officer involved in the incident was fired, the others were suspended by the government later[84], suggesting that they were responsible for the accident.

5. Concluding Remarks

There are compelling evidences showing that Ms. Tracey Brown was the central figure in the selection of Fang Zhouzi for the John Maddox Prize in 2012. According to the Nature editorial, it was SAS which “stimulated and organized” the Prize. On Nov. 8, 2012, I sent the first part of my Open Letter to Nature. On the next day, Yuan posted the following message on his microblog:

“The organizer (of the John Maddox prize) forwarded teacher Yi Ming’s masterpiece to me. Fuck, there are as many as 19 allegations. They asked me for suggestions, my advice to them was, absolutely don’t deal with these crazy guys. Had you done so, you would have lost already. If you feel you are obligated to reply, out of courtesy, then just say: Thanks for the letter, your very existence demonstrates perfectly the importance of the prize.”[85]

It seems that “the organizer” adopted Yuan’s advice faithfully, even without showing a British courtesy: from November 2012 to June 2013, for more than seven months they had pretended that nothing had happened. Ironically, according to Fang, what they adopted was “the last strategy of all the imposters when their frauds are brought to light.”[86]

In June 2013, Dr. Philip Campbell told me explicitly that he was the only one from Nature involved in the John Maddox Prize. Also, according to nature.com, “Nature currently supports two awards,” and the John Maddox Prize is not one of them.

The John Maddox Prize is not a Nature Award!

The most compelling evidence showing that Ms. Brown was the manipulator of the Prize showed up on June 26, 2013, two days before our scheduled delivery of the Open Letter signed by 60 Chinese scholars around the globe to the organizer, the sponsors, and the four judges of the Prize, asking them to re-do their fact-checking by investigating Fang. Ms. Brown ignored my original email sent to her a few days earlier, but she drafted a statement for the other judges after I had a few exchanges with them, stating that the Prize was not about Fang’s fights against Chinese scientists and scholars, rather, it was about “science popularisation, in one form or another.” The ridiculousness of the statement has been analyzed and discussed extensively right after I came back from London in July[87], but the positive message of the statement is that it revealed the boss of the John Maddox Prize.

It is really puzzling to me as why SAS and Ms. Brown is so enthusiastic about China. Their one-room headquarter at 14a Clerkenwell Green in London is shabby and crummy – even Yuan was a little surprised[75] -, many of their workers are free labors called “volunteers,” and yet, they are willing to pay the bill for a fake “mainstream molecular biologist”/fake Chinese journalist to attack Chinese seismologists in Canada! If Ms. Brown, or anyone in SAS, has any background in seismology, it won’t be as bizarre as it sounds. The fact is, no, none of them has! Ms. Julia Wilson, the organizer of the 2012 AAAS program sponsored by SAS, “has a degree in Biology from the University of Manchester,” and Ms. Brown, the moderator of the event, has “her research specialism” in “the sociology of law.” It really looks and sounds like "Antisense About Science"!

The John Maddox Prize Network
The core of the network is a GMO triangle composed of British organization SAS represented by its director Ms. Brown, American citizen and Chinese journalist Mr. Yuan Yue, and American resident and Chinese blogger Fang Zhouzi. British GMO promoter Ms. Brown invited Yuan to nominate a (Chinese) candidate for the Prize, probably in July 2012, when Fang and his gangsters were desperately struggling to salvage his downfall in China. Yuan, one of the core members of Fang’s gangsters and one of Fang’s GMO scheme partners, formally nominated Fang in August. The nomination was approved in October by the other three judges of the Prize under Ms. Brown’s “stimulation and organization”: Dr. Colin Blakemore is an Advisory Council member of SAS; Lady Maddox has at least an indirect relationship with SAS through her ex-husband Sir John Maddox, who was a board member of the organization[80]; Dr. Philip Campbell is an Advisory Committee member of Science Media Centre, a sister organization of SAS and another GMO promoter based in London, and one of Mr. Yuan’s first contacts in UK. Dr. Campbell might have an informal relationship with Ms. Brown/SAS. Dr. Simon Wessely, the co-recipient of the inaugural John Maddox Prize, is a member of the Advisory Council of SAS. Fang, of course, is a legal resident of the U. S., but has been living in China for the past ten years or so to mainly promote GMO.

The fact is, Ms. Brown’s strong interest in China has a longer history. In 2009, Ms. Tracey Brown took a “fact-finding” trip to China, sponsored by, who else, Elsevier[88]. The bizarre thing is, Ms. Tracey Brown’s mission of that trip was to promote “peer review” among Chinese scientists, however, when she set up stages in Vancouver or Boston to attack Chinese seismologists, or “stimulated and organized” the John Maddox Prize to award and promote one of the most fraudulent people in human history, she completely ignored the “peer review” principle, even a review and demand from 60 Chinese scholars meant nothing to her. Does anyone have the ability to make sense of SAS?

Tracey Brown; David Ruth, Elsevier Senior Vice President Global Communications; and Hugo Zhang, Elsevier Managing Director S&T China (left) meet with Mr Jinghai Li, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (right)[88]

There is no doubt in my mind that the biggest value Ms. Brown and her colleagues found in Fang Zhouzi is his GMO scifooling, the so called “perseverance and broad achievement in the area of science communication.” The fact is, neither Nature nor SAS dared to praise Fang’s “courage for” promoting GMO in China when they announced the Prize in November 2012, and Ms. Brown avoided the specific subject in her statement also. The diligence and deliberation exhibited by the organizer and the sponsors of the Prize did nothing but inspire and support the conspiracy theory. As a matter of fact, one of the questions I was going to ask the judges face to face in London was: Was GMO an issue in awarding Fang? It was really their smartness that the judges avoided answering the question by hiding from us.

It is my belief that by shunning the GMO issue, the organizer, the sponsors, and the judges of the John Maddox Prize have violated the very basic principle in “sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest,” i. e. declaring whether they have conflict of interest in promoting Fang: It is a fact that you are firm supporters for the commercialization of GMO in UK or in the rest of the world, and you do know that Fang is the top GMO promoter in China. If you truly believe in your cause, you should have the courage to publicly show your support for what Fang has been doing in China, instead of sweeping the dirt under the carpet of vague “broad achievement in the area of science communication.” The facts that you have retreated from your previous position of awarding Fang for his “root[ing] out the fakers” and you have failed to present any specifics about his “broad achievement in the area of science communication,” despite repeated requests, indicate your reason and purpose for awarding Fang was ulterior. And according to the facts I have presented in the last 10 months, and especially in the series of “Why Fang Shi-min Was Awarded the John Maddox Prize,” that ulterior reason and purpose must be GMO. Whether you have a stakes in the GMO issue is not what I care about, however, I do believe that Fang, as well as Yuan, does. Either way, it is absolutely immoral and unethical of you not to declare your COI when you promote Fang for his GMO promoting in China in the name of “standing up for science.” It is an insult to science, and an insult to the science community in the world.

Now, let me cite a paragraph from Lord Melchett as my position on the GMO issue:

“I have absolutely no objection to people campaigning for GM crops, just as I campaign against them. What is both dishonest and dishonourable is scientists and journalists who pretend to be presenting scientific findings when they are simply pushing personal opinions, or worse, opinions shaped by financial and institutional interests which they do not disclose.”[89]

And let me make the following declaration:

“I do not have any conflicts of interest that might interfere with my objectivity and independence when I conduct my research on Fang Zhouzi and the social phenomena associated with him.”

Now, the organizer, the sponsors, and the judges of the John Maddox Prize, it’s your turn.

【Please read the PDF file for references.】

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