Opinion / From the Press

Criticism exposes bigotry

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-05 09:15

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 and sharp comments are an apt 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 the common 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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