CHINA: Top scientist plans new autonomous university

A Chinese scientist is planning to establish the mainland's first university outside the grip of government bureaucracy, the official Xinhua news agency reports. Zhu Qingshi, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who served as president of the prestigious University of Science and Technology of China for 10 years, believes heavy red tape in higher education is mainly responsible for China's lack of world-renowned scientists.

"We aim to establish a small-scale school like the California Institute of Technology, where faculty and students enjoy utmost freedom and autonomy in research and study, an environment that breeds true major academic achievements," said Zhu. The planned South University of Science and Technology of China, with Zhu as president, will be located in Shenzhen, China's first economic special zone adjoining Hong Kong.

Usually, leaders of Chinese universities are given administrative grades as government officials. Presidents of some key universities are ranked at deputy minister or governor level, while faculty heads enjoy the similar grades as a deputy mayor. "The bureaucracy within schools turns professors into officials, who pursue higher positions instead of academics," Zhu said.
Full report on the CRI site

Last weekend, China made public a government plan on education reform which included statements to gradually call off administrative grades, or bureaucratic rankings, among university managers and give academia more authority to run their schools, reports Xinhau.
Full report on the Xinhau site