PERSONAL NOTE: A few years ago, one of my friends in China told me the same kind of story of how his phd supervisor was making money using his students’ cheap labor…AND his parents went to the campus and talked directly to the professor…yes, it was a difficult decision for him and his parents, but I thought at the time, that was the one way parents had a voice in what was happening to him in the campus…so, this particular story of the death of a student…was nothing new to me. It seems it is happening in many schools in China…how a professor would exploit his phd students for personal gain and money…threatening students to do it or else…I am happy that this family decided to sue the professor for damage… steve, usa, april 24, 2019 email@example.com blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
Chinese professor to pay US$96,900 to family after graduate student kills himself
• Parties reach court-mediated settlement after relatives sue academic for alleged psychological abuse
• Dead man’s sister says family will never be able to forgive the professor
26 Mar, 2019 laurie chen scmp
A Wuhan university professor accused of “psychological abuse” was ordered by court mediators to pay US$96,902 in compensation to relatives of a student who killed himself last year. Photo: Thepaper.cn
A university professor in central China has apologised and agreed to pay 650,000 yuan (US$96,900) in compensation to relatives of a student who killed himself, according to court mediation documents published online on Monday by the dead man’s sister.
Tao Chongyuan, 25, a graduate chemistry student at Wuhan University of Technology in Hubei province, fell to his death from a dormitory on March 26 last year.
His sister – a doctoral student at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei – accused Tao’s supervisor, Wang Pan, of “long-term psychological abuse” which led to her brother’s suicide.
Tao’s family posted what they said was a record of the student’s internet messages with Wang in which the professor allegedly ordered Tao carry out household chores for him, forced him to call him “father” and threatened to expel Tao from the university if he applied for PhD programmes abroad or got a part-time job outside his degree.
A sister of deceased student Tao Chongyuan released documents relating to her family’s case against Wang Pan online on Monday. Photo: Thepaper.cn
Wuhan University of Technology launched an investigation into Wang’s professional conduct and banned him from supervising postgraduate students.
Tao’s family filed a civil suit in Wuhan’s Hongshan District People’s Court in April, seeking 1.28 million yuan in compensation from Wang, according to the initial filing on the court’s website.
On Monday, a year to the day of Tao’s death, the sister posted documents online saying the parties had agreed to compensation and an apology from Wang as part of a court-mediated settlement. The documents were later taken down and were not released on the court’s website.
According to the sister, Wang said he was “sorry for my misconduct while teaching Tao Chongyuan. I am deeply saddened by the loss of this outstanding student, and deeply regret this tragedy.”
But she also said the family would never be able to forgive Wang.
“Now I don’t want to think about it too much; our family only wants to start a new life,” Shanghai-based news site Thepaper.cn quoted her as saying.
Tao’s death was the latest in a string of graduate student suicides allegedly caused by psychological abuse from their supervisors.
Chinese university punishes professor for treating doctoral student as errand boy
Yang Baode, a doctoral student at Xian Jiaotong University, killed himself in December 2017 after describing the psychological abuse he suffered under his supervisor, Zhou Jun, who asked him to do personal chores for her outside his studies.
Similar complaints of postgraduate supervisors treating their students like secretaries were common on online forums such as Zhihu, where students claimed that an imbalance of power, lack of protection for students and the overwhelming influence that supervisors wield over their degree prevented them from speaking out publicly.