Beijing Film Academy (BFA) revoked the doctorate degree it awarded to Chinese actor Zhai Tianlin in 2018 due to academic misconduct, according to an announcement published on the BFA's official Weibo account on Tuesday.
The Academic Committee and the Academic Arbitration Committee conducted an investigation on a paper Zhai published while pursuing his doctorate at the BFA, and has confirmed that the key points in the paper were quoted from other experts, without any references or notes.
“There exist obvious unstandardized and imprecise academic conditions, as well as academic misconducts,” the investigation concluded.
Zhai's doctoral supervisor Chen Yi was also deprived of his qualifications for “irresponsibility in practicing academic morality, standardization and supervising the doctorate papers.”
The announcement added that “other relevant investigations are still underway”.
The BFA launched an investigation into Zhai's academic misconduct last week, after an online outrage broke out against him for suspected plagiarism and academic misconduct.
During a livestream, Zhai admitted that he had no idea about Zhiwang, China's National Knowledge Infrastructure platform (CNKI), a state-sponsored academic platform and thesis pool that functions like JSTOR.
Later, netizens said that Zhai's doctoral graduation dissertation could not be found on CNKI, which is a necessity for one to get doctorate in China. They also pointed out that he has not published enough academic essays to get a doctoral graduate, and that, in the only paper authored by Zhai, at least 40 percent was written by others.
Peking University also released an announcement last week, urging Zhai to quit a post-doctorate program in the university's Guanghua School of Management, because it had been confirmed that he was involved in academic misconduct.
The Chinese Ministry of Education responded to the scandals and accusations that surrounded Zhai last Friday, saying that the ministry has “zero tolerance” for such behavior as it sabotages educational fairness.
“Investigations have been launched into the case, not only against Zhai's academic conduct, but also the other links that might be relevant in the case,” ministry spokesperson said.