Who is FANG Zhouzi? Meet The John Maddox Prize winner

I’m thrilled to learn from Shaozi that FANG Zhouzi 方舟子 has just won The John Maddox Prize.

China’s whistleblower Fang Zhouzi won The John Maddox Prize

The inaugural John Maddox Prize was awarded to Professor Simon Wessely and FANG Shi-min.

Who is Fang Shi-min? He’s best known as 方舟子 -Fang Zhouzi, the most outspoken whistle-blower on all sorts of scientific and academic fraud in China. He’s nicknamed the ‘Science Cop’, exposing plagiarism, falsification of resume and credentials, misinformation, pseudoscience, and outlandish data fabrication.

Fang Shi-min (Fang Zhouzi) graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in biochemistry. According to the panel, Mr Fang was awarded for his bravery and determination in standing up to threats to his life to uncover clinics promoting unproven treatments, and to bring a wide public readership to the importance of looking for evidence.

You can hear Mr Fang’s short acceptance speech here: FANG Zhouzi’s speech on receiving the John Maddox Prize 2012 or see a 7 minute documentary of the award on Youtube:

“I’m truly honoured to receive the John Maddox Prize. Science in China faces great challenges from superstition, psuedoscience, anti-science and scientific misconduct. There are more and more Chinese people who realise this is a big problem and are standing up for science. I consider this award as an acknowledgement of our efforts from the international science community and I deeply appreciate it. Thank you.”

By Fang Zhouzi 方舟子

FANG Zhouzi: scientist attacked being a whistleblower

According to Evan Osnos, of The New Yorker, Fang Shimin has over the years investigated and exposed the kind of fraud, plagiarism, and academic malfeasance that endangers China’s ambition to produce credible world-class innovation. Most recently, he was in the news for reporting that the former head of Microsoft China, Tang Jun, held a Ph.D. from a diploma mill called Pacific Western University.

Fang Zhouzi’s crusade also penetrated the literary world. Mr Fang accused China’s golden boy, Han Han 韩寒, of using ghostwriters. Han Han is a professional rally driver, best-selling author and singer. According to the Wikipedia, in 2010, Han Han was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. The British magazine New Statesman also listed Han Han at 48th place in the list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010”.

Han Han has since sued FANG Zhouzi for defamation. The battle of FANG Zhouzi and HAN Han is the most sensational gossip in the Chinese blogosphere in the past year.

FANG Zhouzi vs Han Han (image via Chinadaily.com.cn)

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Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement

Other Links:

Brawl in Beijing – Critics of Chinese researchers targeted in physical attacks (nature.com)
FANG Zhouzi exposing academic fraud
China’s Scientific & Academic Intergrity Watch
The New Yorker: Science Cop Mugged
Taking Stock of Fang Zhouzi
Han Han VS Fang Zhouzi
Chinese writer Han Han sues blogger Fang Zhouzi for accusing him of having a ghostwriter
Qihoo 360′s Latest War: Duking it Out With “Science Cop” Fang Zhouzi (techinasia.com)
Courage for sound science wins John Maddox prize (nature.com)
Journalist and psychiatrist awarded prize for bravery (newscientist.com)
Qihoo’s Zhou Hongyi Needs to Just Shut Up (techinasia.com)
Fang Zhouzi’s blog (in Chinese)
Letter of Recommendation for Fang Zhouzi and judges’ views

11 thoughts on “Who is FANG Zhouzi? Meet The John Maddox Prize winner

  1. Janet Williams Post author

    Indeed. His efforts are admirable. Mr Fang was assaulted by two men 2 years ago due to his crusade. A urologist, professor Xiao Chuang Guo, whom Mr Fang exposed, was arrested and later sentenced.

    Doctor Sentenced in Beijing for Attacks on Critics
    Controversial Doctor Detained in Fang Zhouzi Case

    “Beijing Police Bureau announced last night that they have cracked the case of Fang Zhouzi’s assault. They identified Xiao Chuanguo, the professor who pioneered the controversial “Xiao’s Procedure” and a long-time target of Fang Zhouzi’s fraud exposure, as the mastermind behind the attack. Xiao Chuanguo and four other suspects are currently detained by the police.

    Police also said that they had uncovered iron hammers and steel pipes, tools that were used in separate previous attacks on Fang Zhouzi and Fang Xuanchang.” 21 Sep 2012

  2. Daniela

    Hi Janet,
    Thank you for this eye-opening post. I now see that I was not aware of how widely spread the problem is or how many challenges Chine faces in the academic and scientific fields. Mr Fang is admirable young man with considerable courage.
    Kind Regards,

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Indeed. Though Mr Fang is also a controversial figure, he has been remarkable by exposing frauds and promoting decency. Moreover, his strong academic background has enabled him to expose frauds that are far too complicated to be detected by ordinary people. To understand modern China, this young man is worth watching.

  3. shoufeng

    Hi Janet, thanks for sharing this news! Mr Fang is the real backbone and conscience of Chinese academia and science and technology. He is one of the most influential people to save the corrupted academia in China (another one is Rao Yi).

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      I’m so glad for your comment. I’ve read about professor Rao Yi too.

      Professor Rao Yi’s Blog Post: On Ewen Callaway’s report on the Chinese Olympic gold medalist Ye Shiwen

      It’s a letter to Philip Campbell, Ph.D. and Editor-in-Chief of Nature.

      (To English readers, please scroll down the blog post to read the English text.)

      You’re a scientist and you understand how damaging plagiarism and frauds are to China. It’s an uphill struggle for any fraud fighter or whistleblower.

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