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Ministries respond to public concerns

Xin Zhiming
Updated: Jun 20,2017 8:48 AM     China Daily

Central ministries and departments responded to a series of public concerns in the past week, including retraction of Chinese-authored papers by an international medical journal, education and environmental protection.

Retraction of papers

The Ministry of Science and Technology held a news conference on June 14 and responded to the retraction of papers authored by Chinese researchers and said that it is cooperating with other ministries to conduct serious research and will punish those who are found to have cheated in their papers.

The ministry also said that it will strictly combat irregular research activities and tackle academic cheating.

On April 20, it was reported that international medical journal Tumor Biology retracted 107 papers authored by Chinese researchers, which has attracted widespread attention from the public. The journal said that it had retracted those articles “after a thorough investigation” that found “strong reason to believe that the peer review process was compromised”, according to a statement carried on the journal’s website.

He Defang, head of the policy, regulation and supervision division of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that the ministry has attached great importance to the issue and has organized task groups with the China Association for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the National Natural Science Foundation of China to investigate whether the concerned authors have violated academic ethics.

China highlights the development of scientific and technological innovation and encourages honesty in academic activities, He said, adding that the incident has seriously affected the credit of Chinese researchers. China should also strengthen punishment for dishonest research to clean up the overall academic environment, he said.

He revealed that research projects and programs and funding concerning the accused authors and articles have been temporarily stopped and the ministry is joining hands with other departments to combat commercial companies that have been involved in the scandal.

The ministry will make use of the incident to deepen reform of the academic research appraisal system and encourage honest research activities, said He.

Enrollment of art students

The Ministry of Education announced that it has never set up national certification centers for students with special artistic skills.

The announcement came amid claims by some training institutions that they have represented the Ministry of Education in presenting national artistic skill certificates.

The ministry said in the announcement that such activities have nothing to do with it.

A large number of training institutions have emerged in China to train young students in artistic skills so that they will have a greater chance to be accepted by quality public schools.

The general office of the Ministry of Education said that it has not approved any artistic skill certification centers and does not encourage students to participate in such activities.

The ministry reminded parents that they should not believe false claims by those institutions and will take legal action against institutions that have infringed upon the interest of the ministry.

Environmental protection

The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently released results of its inspection campaigns in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas.

On June 15, the ministry sent out 28 inspection task groups to investigate 363 enterprises in those regions and found that 257 firms violated environmental protection rules. Of those, 21 firms failed to install pollution treatment facilities, seven were found to have nonfunctioning facilities and 46 firms violated volatile organic compound management rules, the ministry said.

The ministry has continually conducted air pollution inspection campaigns in those regions in the past more than two months.

From June 9 to 15, a total of 2,272 enterprises were found to have violated relevant rules, with 216 of them failing to install pollution treatment equipment.