Crit­i­cism ex­poses big­otry

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Crit­i­cism of aca­demic works and re­search should be based on sound knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of a sub­ject. It’s un­fair to make fun of a doc­toral can­di­date just be­cause the ti­tle of her dis­ser­ta­tion sounds like a culi­nary dish, says an ar­ti­cle in Beijing News. Ex­cerpts:

A stu­dent re­cently sub­mit­ted her the­sis in zo­ol­ogy at Shaanxi Nor­mal Univer­sity for her doc­toral de­gree which be­gan by dis­cussing the relation be­tween star anise and spicy chicken. The men­tion of the spice and chicken has prompted some peo­ple to ques­tion the rel­e­vance of her the­sis, with a few even us­ing sar­cas­tic lan­guage to make fun of the stu­dent.

That the so-called crit­ics reached a con­clu­sion with­out read­ing the en­tire dis­ser­ta­tion — they have just seen the pic­ture on the cover of the the­sis posted on­line — ex­poses their ig­no­rance. Their crit­i­cism and­sharp­com­mentsare­anapt ex­am­ple of prej­u­dice that all doc­toral the­ses must be of great im­por­tance for the de­vel­op­ment of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, and writ­ten in a lan­guage that is dif­fi­cult for thecom­mon peo­ple to un­der­stand.

The stu­dent has re­sponded to the crit­i­cisms, ex­plain­ing her re­search method, and the value and pro­fes­sors’ as­sess­ments of her work. But her ex­pla­na­tions seem to have fallen on deaf ears. More sur­pris­ingly, me­dia out­lets have not both­ered to con­sult other aca­demics to de­ter­mine the real value of the re­search.

Some me­dia out­lets have just cited peo­ple’s sen­sa­tional (or shock­ing) re­marks to crit­i­cize the qual­ity of re­search in China, and even make fun of the name of the stu­dent’s univer­sity, which has the same pro­nun­ci­a­tion (but dif­fer­ent tone) as “have meals” in Chi­nese.

Many a doc­toral re­search in China is con­ducted in high-sound­ing sub­jects, which have lit­tle value for so­ci­ety. The me­dia, there­fore, should act as a bridge be­tween re­search schol­ars and the peo­ple to high­light the rel­e­vance and im­por­tance of their works, but only after read­ing the en­tire dis­ser­ta­tions and im­par­tially de­ter­min­ing their value for so­ci­ety.

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