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University sacks professor as #MeToo spreads to China

The Associated PressBEIJING (AP) — A Chinese university has sacked a prestigious scholar following accusations of sexual misconduct against him by multiple women, the result of a campaign heralded by his chief accuser as the start of a Chinese chapter of the #MeToo movement.

Beihang University in Beijing said in a message on its official microblog late Thursday that an investigation found that Chen Xiaowu’s behavior had violated professional ethics and created an “odious influence on society.”

It said Chen has been relieved of his duties, including as professor and deputy head of graduate students.

“Morality and ability are paired; actions and talent are one. This is the demand of Beihang’s values and the school has zero tolerance for violations of professorial ethics,” Beihang said in its statement, pledging also to upgrade mechanisms and increase its attention to such issues.

The official China News Service said the move followed accusations of sexual misconduct against Chen by Luo Xixi, a Chinese academic now based in the U.S., and at least five other women. The allegations date from as far back as a dozen years ago.

Chen could not immediately be contacted Friday, although he was quoted by the official newspaper Beijing Youth Daily earlier this month as saying that he had done nothing that was illegal or violated school discipline. Chen said he would await the result of the school’s investigation.

Calls to Chen’s office at Beihang rang unanswered Friday and a graduate school receptionist said she had not seen him.

Luo hailed the school’s decision on her Weibo microblog as a “victory in the initial stage” and said she and the other women involved would continue to monitor Beihang’s handling of the matter.

“Women who have awoken to themselves are even more powerful!” Luo wrote, while congratulating Chen’s other accusers who had chosen to remain anonymous.

“Kindness and bravery are our most beautiful expressions,” she wrote.

Chen is among a select few named by the Education Ministry to the Cheung Kong Scholars Program, considered one of the country’s highest academic honors.

The program funded by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is also known as the Changjiang Scholars and the Yangtze River Scholars.Speech

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