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The John Maddox Prize Organizer, Sponsors, and Judges Should Investigate Your Inaugural Winner Fang Shi-min (1946 查看)

July 06, 2013 06:29AM
The John Maddox Prize Organizer, Sponsors, and Judges Should Investigate

Your Inaugural Winner Fang Shi-min

An Open Letter Signed by 60 Chinese Scholars around the Globe

Delivered in person to the recipients in the United Kingdom on June 28 and July 1, 2013.

June 20, 2013

To: the organizer and the sponsors of the John Maddox Prize

Journal Nature
Sense About Science Trust
The Kohn Foundation

and the judges of the John Maddox Prize

Lady Maddox
Dr. Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of Nature
Dr. Colin Blakemore, Professor of the University of Oxford
Ms. Tracey Brown, Director of Sense About Science

Dear All:

According to a Nature editorial[1], the inaugural John Maddox Prize was given to Mr. Fang Shi-min (Shi-min Fang, or Fang Zhouzi) for supposedly “promot[ing] sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest.” It is our belief that your decision was based on misinformation, false evidence, and wrong perception, and we consider awarding the prize to Fang an insult to Chinese people in general, and to Chinese scholars in particular. The fact is, Mr. Fang is known to most Chinese people as anything but a science hero - he is a repeatedly convicted plagiarist, and a generally acknowledged internet thug and swindler:

First, according to studies by many Chinese scholars[2], Fang has committed plagiarism in more than one hundred individual cases in his published articles, and has pirated about two thousand artistic and scientific images in his books. Both the quantity and the frequency of Fang’s theft, as well as the length of his history of stealing, are unprecedented in China, and probably in the entire world as well. The fact is, Fang has plagiarized scholars from all over the world, including a professor of his alma mater, and the contributors to Nature[3].

Second, for the last 13 years, Fang has been prosecuting many Chinese scholars using cyber-terrorism tactics in the name of “academic fraud busting.” It has been well documented and demonstrated[4] that there are only two purposes of Fang’s so called “fraud busting”: his personal gain (monetary and reputational), and/or his enemies’ personal and professional loss. For example, Fang’s framing and defamation of Dr. Xiao Chuanguo, a world-renowned urologist, was initiated purely from personal hatred: it was Dr. Xiao who reported Fang’s plagiarism case to Science magazine in 2001, and it was Fang who framed and slandered Dr. Xiao in September 2005 when he found out Dr. Xiao’s true identity. It was Dr. Xiao who sued Fang in October 2005, and it was Fang who was convicted of defamation by a China court in July 2006. It was Dr. Xiao who announced in August 2009 that the court had enforced the judgment by taking away more than 40,000 RMB from the bank account of Fang’s wife, and it was Fang who immediately plotted, organized, and implemented a comprehensive and global retaliatory campaign by attacking the surgical procedure invented by Dr. Xiao. Last September, more than a thousand Chinese people signed a petition asking the Chinese government to investigate Fang’s crimes[5] against Chinese society and his damage to the development of science, technology, and medicine in China.

Third, since April 2011, Fang has been threatening the entire Chinese society and many individuals in order to prevent the discussion and spread of the news about his wife’s plagiarism, committed in 2002 in her Master’s degree thesis. For example, Fang said that he would spend the rest of his life to kill those who tried to “break my wife’s rice bowl.”[6] Of course, Fang and his wife share the same rice bowl: since 2002, they have been living in the state-subsidized house allocated to Liu Juhua, who used the plagiarized thesis to get her Master’s degree, and then used that ill-gotten degree to obtain her job in Xinhua News Agency, the only state-run news agency in China.

Lastly, Fang is currently one of the most despised persons in China. According to a vote participated in by more than 25,000 people, nearly 90% of the voters believed that Fang is the person who spread the most rumors and slandered and framed the most people on weibo.com, Chinese version of Twitter. Another vote taken by more than 26,000 people showed that less than 5% of voters held a positive or neutral opinion of him; the majority of voters believed Fang to be an internet swindler, an extortionist, and a thug. Yet another vote taken by more than 50,000 people showed that 82% of voters believed that Fang is “the real swindler.”[7]

It is based upon the above facts, as well as upon mountains of additional facts[8], that we believe you have made a serious mistake by awarding Fang the John Maddox Prize. Your decision sends to the world a pernicious message which reflects values that are just the opposite of what you, and the John Maddox Prize, are supposed to stand up for: evidence-based claims and integrity-based scholarship. Therefore, we strongly urge you to re-do your fact checking, namely, to investigate Fang Shi-min. As a matter of fact, your investigation could be initiated simply by asking Fang to answer, publicly, the following 10 questions:

1. Could you please provide us with a list of the more than one thousand fraud cases that you claim you have busted since 2000?

2. Could you please provide us with the definition and the law code based on which you have denied the more than one hundred plagiarism allegations and nearly two thousand copyright infringement charges?

3. Do you think you have the right to kill anyone simply because he or she believes that your wife has committed plagiarism? If the answer is yes, please explain why hammering you is a crime?

4. Is it a fact that Dr. Xiao Chuanguo reported your plagiarism in 2001, and that you accused Dr. Xiao of fraud in 2005? If so, do you think your action constitutes malicious retaliation and conflict of interest?

5. Did you write a series of defamatory articles against Dr. Xiao and publish them under a fake name on your New Threads in 2005?

6. Did you plot, organize, and personally participate in the smear campaign against Xiao’s Procedure in 2009?

7. Besides Dr. Xiao, have you ever attacked any other personal enemies of yours in the name of “fraud busting”?

8. Are you willing to support the public demand[9] for disclosing the expenditure of your two funds, the Anti-Fraud Fund, and Fang Zhouzi’s Personal Security Fund, both of which have solicited donations, illegally, from the general public in China, and are both controlled solely by your private lawyer and personal friend Mr. Peng Jian? If not, why?

9. Are you willing to reveal the identity of the American bio-information or bio-tech company that hired you in the early 2000s, and the nature of the employment? If not, why?

10. Have you had a permanent residence in the United States in the past five or ten years? If not, on what ground you have kept your permanent resident status of an alien in the United States?

The fact is, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of questions like the above to be asked by you, and more importantly, to be answered by Fang. We do not see any reasons why you should not ask Fang these simple and straightforward questions, except for unwillingness; and we could not think of any excuses that Fang can use to refuse to answer these questions, except for hiding the truth. The fact is, Fang has claimed repeatedly that he suffers from an obsession with truth and moral cleanliness[10], therefore, by asking Fang to answer these questions, you are virtually doing the John Maddox Prize winner a huge favor. We do not believe that you are unwilling to seek the truth, nor do we believe that you are willing to let the persistent suffering of your chosen awardee continue.

On the other hand, regardless of your willingness or unwillingness, and considering all of your honor, pride, prestige, reputation, integrity, civility, nobility, and dignity, we deem, and you should concur, that it is your legitimate responsibility and ethical obligation to respond to the outcries against your wrongful decision[11], and explain to the Chinese people, as well as to the scientific community of the world:

For exactly what reason and purpose do you award and promote such a person as Fang Shi-min?

We are looking forward to your reply, and we are waiting for your investigation result.


Signed by 60 Chinese scholars in alphabetical order:



[1] Nature Editorial. 2012. John Maddox prize. Nature 491,160.

[2] Ge Xin. Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature, Parts XV to XXV (See: [www.2250s.com]); Yi Ming. Chronicle and Demonstration of Fang Zhouzi’s Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement. (亦明:《方舟子抄袭剽窃年谱》, [www.2250s.com]).

[3] Ge Xin. Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature, Part XXV (Fang’s Plagiarism History: The Michigan State University Case. see: [www.2250s.com]); Ge Xin. Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature, Part XVII (Fang’s Plagiarism History: The Nature-Science Case. See: [www.2250s.com]).

[4] Yi Ming. The Feud between Drs. Fang Zhouzi and Xiao Chuanguo. (《方舟子陷害肖传国始末》, [www.2250s.com]).

[5] Wang, et al. An Appeal to the Chinese Government for Investigating and Prosecuting Fang Zhouzi’s Crime of Harming the Society, and Obstructing and Damaging China’s Science, Technology, and Medicine. (《呼吁中国政府调查惩处方舟子危害社会,阻挠破坏中国科技医疗事业》, [www.2250s.com]).

[6] Fang’s original Chinese: “我不和猪打架,我杀猪。在我发出严厉警告后,还想拱我妻子、砸我妻子饭碗的猪更该杀,即使花一生的时间杀,即使被血溅一身。” (See: Fang’s microblog on Dec. 29, 2011: [weibo.com]).

[7] Link: [vote.weibo.com]; [vote.weibo.com]; [vote.weibo.com].

[8] Please see the website of China Academic Integrity Review (Chinese: [www.2250s.com], English: [www.2250s.com]). Or, just Google Fang’s name, in either Chinese or English.

[9] Li, Y. Anti-fraud activist accused of fraud. Global Times, March 23, 2012. (See: [www.globaltimes.cn]). More Chinese references are available upon request.

[10] For example, in June 2007, Fang claimed that he had an obsession with truth (“我又对事实的真相有洁癖”) (see: [www.xys.org]); in September 2009, Fang told a reporter that he had an obsession with truth (“我觉得我的性格中有理想主义和英雄主义的倾向,对事实真相有洁癖”) (see: [www.xys.org]); in July 2010, Fang said that he had an obsession with truth and moral cleanliness (“在诚信方面,就是应该有一个道德洁癖,” “我是一个有着真相洁癖的人”) (see: [www.xys.org], [www.xys.org]).

[11] Since the announcement of the award on Nov. 7, 2012, Mr. Li Jianmang of Netherlands, Drs. Liao Junlin and Ge Xin of the United States have written letters to Nature, publicly and privately, expressing their objections to the award. (See: LI Jianmang: About your Editorial on John Maddox prize, [www.2250s.com]; Liao Junlin: Fang Shi-min, a Perfect Insult to Sir John Royden Maddox, [www.2250s.com]; Ge Xin: Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature, [www.2250s.com]). We are also aware that Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein of the Michigan State University has written to Nature to express his disappointment. Nature has yet to respond to any of these comments publicly. Instead, they blocked the commenting function of their editorial webpage (see: [www.nature.com]).

The screen images of the official letter delivered to the John Maddox Prize Organizer, Sponsors, and Judges

The screen images of the book by Ge Xin: Shamelessness Shouldn’t Be Anyone’s Nature ──An Open Letter to Nature





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