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Medical expert loses lab amid accusations

Updated: 2011-09-06 07:45

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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BEIJING - A leading Chinese medical expert is facing accusations of scientific misconduct and has had his research lab closed by a Canadian heart institute.

Wang Zhiguo, a medical expert selected by the national Thousand Talents Program in China, has also had to retract two articles from publication and may have to retract others, said Dr Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) Research Centre.

His work in China is continuing, however.

"Wang's daily work has not been influenced, and he is still the chief of the cardiovascular drugs institute under the Harbin Medical University College of Pharmacy," a man at the university's administrative office who refused to be named told China Daily on Monday.

"But it is inconvenient for him to accept any interviews before the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee reports the findings of an investigation," he said.

In a move several years ago to improve China's capacity for innovation, the country launched the Thousand Talents Program, aiming to lure more talented people working at the world's best institutions or enterprises to return to China for top salaries.

More than 1,100 people have already promised to come back.

According to a news release on the MHI's official website, Wang's research was done at the cellular level and did not involve patients.

The release also said the MHI's independent expert committee found that Wang deviated from the MHI's ethical standards of proper scientific conduct and his responsibilities as a researcher.

The MHI has requested the retraction of three additional scientific articles.

"He has kind of been fired," Fang Zhouzi, a Chinese writer known as the "science cop", was quoted as saying on Monday by the Beijing Times.

"He should be disqualified from the national Thousand Talents Program in regards to academic ethics," Fang said.

Accusations of cheating have been threatening the academic reputations for an increasing number of Chinese researchers.

In the most recent case, Wang Sheng, a Chinese American working with Boston University Medical Campus Cancer Research Center, forged data in two of his papers published in 2008 and 2009, thus being disqualified as assistant professor, according to an announcement by the Office of Research Integrity under the US Department of Health and Human Services on Aug 5.

According to the announcement, Wang neither admitted nor denied the result of the investigation. He also said that he would not lodge an appeal. He agreed to withdraw both the papers and not join any research program involving Federal grants in the United States for two years.

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