BEIJING – The names of some senior officials from government and State-owned enterprises have disappeared from the list of candidates who will participate in the second round of competition for academician vacancies at the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) this year.
The names of 163 candidates were published online on June 30, and any queries or doubts about the candidates’ qualifications will be welcome before Aug 15, CAE announced on its website.
However, anonymous complaints will not be accepted, it said.
The qualifications of some candidates triggered fierce debate when, in the first round of competition on May 25, 485 candidates were named in the race for 60 academician vacancies at CAE.
Chinese netizens thought many candidates were senior officials from government or State-owned enterprises.
The heavyweights from State-owned enterprises on the list included Fu Chengyu, chairman of the Sinopec Group, and Hu Wenrui, a former senior executive of China National Petroleum Corporation.
The incumbent or former senior officials on the candidate list included Vice-Mayor of Shanghai Shen Xiaoming and Wu Qidi, former vice-minister of education.
Many netizens criticized the criteria for selecting the candidates, arguing the list showed that the academy had been bureaucratized and the honor of academicians simply means more research funds, better income and benefits.
In response to the critics, an unidentified official at the academy said the selection criteria focus on the “candidates’ contribution to the country” and “academic background” rather than their general background, and only senior engineers, researchers and professors could be nominated.
Although some candidates are officials or senior executives, they used to work for the country’s science and technology development and some contributed to cutting-edge engineering technology, the official said.
Some officials, including Fu Chengyu and Shen Xiaoming, have been removed from the list, but others remain.
Hu Wenrui and Wu Qidi are on the new list, although doubts about their qualifications have been raised.
The new list also includes: Cao Yaofeng, deputy general manager of Sinopec Group, Zhang Xiaolu, vice-president of China Power Investment Corporation and Zhang Yuzhuo, general manager of Shenhua Group.
“They should volunteer to give up their academic honors if they choose to become officials,” said a netizen called bestall1234 on Sina.com, a major information portal in China.
“It is contempt for justice and fairness when CAE lists senior officials of government or State-owned enterprises for academician vacancies,” said another netizen called Huanguangguanguang.
However, some netizens support the CAE’s decision to include officials and executives in its list of candidates.
“Modern enterprises are not only assembly lines for producing things,” said a netizen named Baqianlilu. “Scientists in enterprises can also invent and contribute to the country.”
CAE, established in 1994, is a national organization composed of selected academicians with the highest honors in Chinese engineering and technology. It has 739 academicians.
Existing members will elect new academicians and the final list will be released in November.