Copying Your Way To Success

It’s quite common to have students plagiarizing academic papers to pass off as their own. But what about teachers plagiarizing a student’s work? A professor from NTU National Technological University (Singapore) has allegedly copied a former student’s research paper and tried to pass it off as his own.

Plagiarism at NTU

According to the Straits Times, Professor Qu Jingyi’s 2018 research paper titled Escape As A Mode Of Existence: On Ruan Ji’s Escapism Complex and Mr Wang Yueming’s 2014 project titled Escapism In The Literary Works Of Ruan Ji 论阮籍诗文中的逃避主义.

Prof Qu is the head of Chinese at the School of Humanities at NTU and deputy director of its Centre for Chinese Language and Culture. He was also Mr Wang’s final-year project supervisor in 2014.


Prof Qu’s 2018 paper is written in English, while Mr Wang’s is in Chinese. Prof Qu’s paper, which was accessible on, an open repository of academic articles, has since been taken down.

Checks by The Straits Times found that more than 50 per cent of Prof Qu’s paper looked like a direct translation of Mr Wang’s 2014 paper, with no attribution to the latter. These sections include analyses of poems and inferences made on related research papers.

Somebody remarked: 怎么尊师重道? And that’s a very interesting remark. 尊师重道 is supposed to be a Chinese virtue, but respecting copyright ownership has never been a Chinese virtue. It has happened numerous times in Chinese academia in the past but it’s only with easy access to electronic media evidence and Weibo that the culprits are finally taken to task. And when Western companies profit from such deceptions, they don’t really care if their products are “ghosted”.

This one is for the Born Again Chinese (BAC). Why are China’s high tech products so cheap? It’s not that they are locally produced at low cost and they don’t rip us off unlike the the greedy and evil West. The key components from these high tech devices are actually produced outside China and disguised as Chinese products by polishing off the original label and inscribing “Made in China” over them. The Chinese companies can sell them cheap because the whole masquerade is subsidised by the Chinese government and companies in the West still laugh their way to the bank.

Throughout Chinese history, monumental achievements by unknown inventors have been wrongly and deliberately attributed to famous people. These are not exceptions. They are habits and patterns. Attributing one’s own work to one’s teacher is an act of 尊师重道! If we condemn it, then we are all too “Westernised”.