Monday, 24 June 2013

In Search of Votes, CNRP Turns to Youth and Beauty

By - June 24, 2013

Lacking the funds and an expansive network of volunteers the ruling CPP has behind its well-oiled election campaign, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is turning to a resource it now boasts in increasingly large numbers: young women.

On Thursday, as the CNRP ramped up preparations for July’s national election, young volunteers flocked to the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh. Among them were fashionable women who were frantically assembling party-branded flags. 

Volunteers prepare promotional flags bearing the logo of the Cambodia National Rescue Party at the party's headquarters in Phnom Penh, in this photo released online by a campaigner on Thursday.
Volunteers prepare promotional flags bearing the logo of the Cambodia National Rescue Party at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, in this photo released online by a campaigner on Thursday.

As they sat hard at work, a party member took photographs of them and before long had posted a collage of images to a popular CNRP-affiliated Facebook page.

“We are women ready for the rescue of the Khmer nation this July 28, 2013. And you, are you ready for the nation’s rescue yet?” read a message alongside the image, which showed young women clad in CNRP clothing and memorabilia.

The photo, which carried the caption, “It is known that the young National Rescue girls are beautiful and gentle when you meet them,” has received more than 700 “likes” on Facebook and has been shared more than 135 times on the social networking site.

With elections now just over a month away, the CNRP is hoping to gain some leverage from integrating young, smart—and attractive—women into its campaign. In a country where more than half the population is below the age of 30, the CNRP is also trying to compete with the ruling party’s own hugely successful youth movement.

CNRP Phnom Penh campaign director Ly Sovichea, who posted the images of the CNRP’s latest female recruits last week, said since the post went online the party had drawn a substantial number of new recruits to its campaign.

“A beautiful woman, she always has a lot of friends—especially boys— studying with her. And I told them: ‘You have to bring your friends to come to join us, okay?” said Mr. Sovichea, adding that since his post went up on Thursday the party had seen roughly 200 young male members join the party as volunteers.

In a country where more than half the population is below the age of 30, the CNRP is also trying to compete with the ruling party’s own hugely successful youth movement.
CNRP Phnom Penh campaign director Ly Sovichea, who posted the images of the CNRP’s latest female recruits last week, said that since the post went online the party had drawn a substantial number of new recruits to its campaign.

“A beautiful woman, she always has a lot of friends—especially boys—studying with her. And I told them: ‘You have to bring your friends to come to join us, okay?” said Mr. Sovichea, adding that since his post went up on Thursday, the party had seen roughly 200 young male members join as volunteers.

On Saturday, the CNRP’s headquarters was a site of industriousness, with young men hard at work cutting and stripping bamboo poles in the building’s basement, while upstairs, groups of professionally-dressed young men and women painstakingly nailed policy posters to the bamboo.
The volunteers stopped only to smack each other playfully with the campaign materials, collect drink orders delivered from a nearby restaurant, and pose as Mr. Sovichea took more photos with his smartphone.

While attracting more men to the cause is one benefit of promoting young, female party members, CNRP candidate Mu Sochua, who was Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs between 1998 and 2004, said such campaigning was also part of an effort to empower young women throughout the country.

“Usually it takes a lot more for women to come out and campaign, so when the men see them engaged, they…come out too,” she said. “Usually, it is the other way around,” with men driving election campaigns, “but now with social media, women can come out without being afraid.”

Ms. Sochua also noted the opposition’s work during last year’s commune elections, when the opposition SRP attempted to mobilize more young people in its campaign and saw an unprecedented increase in young women coming to join the party.

“Young women, when they campaign, she will take the party’s message serious…. She will work 10 to 12 hours a day,” Ms. Sochua said.

In one of the photos posted online is 18-year-old high school student Thy Vantha.
She said that she was more than happy to be photographed campaigning if it meant she was helping attract new members to the party.

“Sometimes they post my photograph on Facebook, and then more people come because they see that I am not afraid,” Ms. Vantha said Friday. “They see I am only a high school student, but even I am not afraid.”

“I think they see that I am young, and I am brave to come here to help, so they have to take their time and show that they are brave,” she added.

Kim Sophea, secretary of the CNRP’s executive campaign committee, said showing pictures of young, female party members was less about attracting male voters and more about highlighting the general appeal of the party to the country’s youth.

“Some people, especially the men, they say: ‘Wow, they are very beautiful ladies. Pretty ladies go with the CNRP. Should we go and see those ladies in the headquarters?’” he explained. “The main thing is that the youth are willing,” to join the CNRP, he added.

Branom Kalyaney, a first-year university student who is also involved in the CNRP’s campaign preparations, signed up one of her friends to the opposition party on Saturday.
“I think if we have more women, then men want to join,” she said.

The push to promote young women within the opposition’s campaign has not gone without criticism. According to Mr. Sovichea, the party campaigner, the CNRP’s Phnom Penh campaign director has already been accused by CPP members of using underhanded methods, and even of paying young women to turn up at the CNRP’s campaign headquarters.

The strategy does not appear unique to the CNRP, with a Facbook page attributed to the Phnom Penh branch of the CPP-affiliated Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia also displaying photographs of its events attended in large numbers by young women.

However, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Sunday that the posting of such images was not a strategy of the CPP, and any photos on Facebook of attractive women attending party-sponsored events were the result of its young members’ choices.

“It’s not in the guidelines of the party. We don’t work for young and beauty, we work for youth and principle,” he said.

Mr. Siphan said that he was not worried that pictures of attractive women campaigning for the CNRP might steal young members away from the CPP, as the majority of the country’s young people simply do not approve of such tactics.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have young pretty girls to promote the party,” he said. “It doesn’t help that party [the CNRP] because the youth of Cambodia is still very conservative. On Facebook, the youth always raise the national issues, they don’t go on how people look.”

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

Hun Sen Says Change Is a Dangerous Game

By - June 22, 2013

You may have to flee your homes. That was the latest pre-election warning message from Prime Minister Hun Sen to the people of Banteay Meanchey province on Friday, where he once again raised the specter of a near-apocalyptic scenario should he not be re-elected on July 28. 

Continuing his slew of public speeches peppered with warnings of civil war and near societal collapse should his long-ruling CPP be defeated in the election, Mr. Hun Sen had a simpler yet no less ominous message for the public: “Change is not a game.”

“Voting for the CPP means you are voting for yourself: Voting for peace, political stability and development for yourself,” in terms of roads, schools, hospitals and pagodas, Mr. Hun Sen said.

To vote for someone else, he added, is to gamble with the possibility of receiving such infrastructure, and it might even mean that people “face fleeing.”

The prime minister did not explain what the public might have to flee from, but presented a history lesson of the dangers of changing leaders in Cambodia; a lesson that ultimately focused on the rise of the Khmer Rouge and mass killing in Cambodia.

“Change is not a game,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “After changing Lon Nol to the Pol Pot regime, the genocide occurred,” he said.

He also warned the public to treat the national election with more importance than last year’s commune election, which had no impact on political parties—only local government services, he said.

“Voting in the upcoming election is to vote for political parties and for the prime minister’s position, which involves the turning upside down of domestic and international policies, which could mean destruction,” he said.

Addressing an audience of thousands who turned out for his speech in Poipet City at the inauguration of a new road, Mr. Hun Sen implored the public to return him to office.

“In the near future, we hope people will again vote for the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said, noting that 67.7 percent of the voters in Banteay Meanchey voted for the ruling party at last year’s commune election.

“So, I would like to appeal to people, if they have seen the correct leadership policy of the Cambodian People’s Party, and my right leadership…if you love, like and sympathize…and trust Hun Sen, vote for the Cambodian People’s Party.”

Yem Ponhearith, spokesman for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the main election challenger to the CPP, said Mr. Hun Sen’s constant reference to war and instability should there be an election upset amounted to psychological pressure on voters.

“Change is not bad. Why don’t they look at change after elections in Thailand, the United States, France, Singapore and so on? It doesn’t bring instability and chaos for countries,” Mr. Pon­hearith said.

Changing the leadership to improve development in the country should be done freely and fairly, he added.

Mr. Hun Sen on Friday also said that he expected more votes in Banteay Meanchey thanks to his student volunteer land-titling project, which had distributed 23,186 individual titles to 13,718 families covering more than 44,000 hectares of land.

Congratulating himself on bringing peace and development to border regions in Banteay Meanchey, including a $72 million road linking the cities of Poipet, Battambang and Pailin, Mr. Hun Sen said that such success depended on political stability.

“Development cannot be started with the instability or war. [We] will try to protect the peace and political stability that we have struggled hard to achieve,” he said.

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Hun Sen Defends His Decision to Break the Law

By and - June 20, 2013

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday again admitted publicly to breaking the law when he helped opposition leader Kem Sokha escape arrest for an alleged sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl.
Mr. Hun Sen first leveled the accusation against the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) acting president last week, claiming that Mr. Sokha had paid the girl $500 for sex, and that he himself broke the law by preventing his arrest for fear of being accused of interfering in Mr. Sokha’s personal affairs. 

Mr. Sokha has denied the claim and his party has dismissed it as political mudslinging ahead of next month’s national election.

According to legal experts, Mr. Hun Sen’s public admission should lead to a police investigation into whether the prime minister has placed himself above the law of the land.
“Some people said I broke the law. Yes, it is true. I did say I broke the law because I stopped police from arresting you [Kem Sokha] before you had sex with her,” Mr. Hun Sen said Wednesday at a high school inauguration in Kandal province.
“Today they broadcast that I violated the law. I acknowledge that I broke the law,” the prime minister continued.

Mr. Hun Sen then defended his decision to break the law, claiming that it was the best move for all involved.

“I told them [the police] don’t do it [arrest Kem Sokha], just scare him away,” the prime minister said.

“Once he runs away, we don’t need to arrest him. This was not win-win, it’s equal-equal. The girl did not lose her virginity, we don’t need to have trouble with accusations and he wasn’t punished,” the prime minister continued.

Despite Mr. Hun Sen’s public admissions of wrongdoing, senior police and court officials declined Wednesday to say whether the prime minister’s claims would be investigated.

Kirth Chantharith, national police spokesman, said the matter was “out of my capacity.”
Mr. Chantharith also said that he could not comment because he had not heard the prime minister’s admissions, which were broadcast over national radio both last week and Wednesday.
“Let me watch the TV program first, then I can answer what is the competence of the national police. Right now, I have no idea.”

Brigadier General Kheng Tito, spokesman for the military police, said an investigation would need a court order.

“We haven’t received any official letter from the government or the courts to do anything about it,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy director Kor Vandy said he was unfamiliar with the matter and declined to comment.

Sok Sam Oeun, a lawyer who heads the Cambodian Defenders Project, a legal aid NGO, said police were required to investigate the prime minister if they be­lieved a crime was credible.

“The law says that if police believe it is a crime, police can take action…they must. It is their duty if they believe a crime happened,” he said.

But admitting to a crime was not the same as evidence of one, Mr. Sam Oeun added, noting that police did have some discretion.

“The problem isn’t admit or not admit,” he said. “The police must [make an] investigation, if it is a real crime or not.”

There’s also the matter of the legal immunity the prime minister enjoys as an elected lawmaker.
Before being able to investigate the prime minister or even de­mand that he honor a court summons, Mr. Sam Oeun said, the National Assembly would have to take his parliamentary immunity away.

Mr. Sam Oeun said police could move against a lawmaker even with immunity if the alleged crime qualified as “serious or flagrant,” but he was not sure if Mr. Hun Sen’s professed wrongdoing qualified.

According to the law, people with a criminal conviction cannot run for office in Cambodia. That is exactly what has happened to CNRP president Sam Rainsy, who faces 11 years in jail on charg­es including defamation and damage to public property.

Yeng Virak, who heads the Community Legal Aid Center, another legal aid NGO, said the prime minister’s public admission ought to be investigated.

“It should be possible, but in reality I don’t know,” he added, noting the cautionary example of opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua.

When Ms. Sochua attempted to sue the prime minister in 2009 for defamation, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court dismissed the case claiming a lack of evidence but accepted a countersuit Mr. Hun Sen filed against her in retaliation for her having the temerity to sue him in the first place.
The National Assembly then stripped Ms. Sochua of her parliamentary immunity to allow the court to investigate, judge and convict her for defaming the prime minister.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

In Southeast Asia, Free Speech Is Still a Work in Progress

By - June 20, 2013

Six advocates from Southeast Asia on Wednesday put the spotlight on freedom of speech violations at the opening session of the bi-annual IFEX meeting in Phnom Penh, comparing the freedoms they lacked in the light of different laws and protection mechanisms implemented in each of their countries.

During the meeting—held for the first time in Cambodia—land rights activists, cartoonists and journalists from Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines said that al­though citizens in their respective countries enjoyed varying levels of freedom, looking behind the curtain reveals a wide range of lim­itations to free speech.
In Thailand, journalist Chira­nuch Premchaiporn said the ma­jor limitation to free speech comes through self-censorship.

“People are used to self-censoring what they say and what they write. Thailand is not as free as it seems,” said Ms. Chiranuch, who faced 20 years in jail for writing a post deemed to have insulted the Thai monarchy on independent news website Prachatai.

Ms. Chiranuch was told to remove the posts and was eventually handed an eight-month suspended sentence in May 2012. Still, she said civil society is be­coming more engaged across the region and that as its power increases the demand for independent, uncensored media would grow as well.
“At least five people in Thailand are in jail because of things they said. [But] I have hope because in the last few years, people are more concerned about [freedom of speech and independent me­dia] and there is more attention now,” she said.

Melinda Quintes de Jesus, executive director for the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility in the Philippines, said the major problem in her country was the culture of impunity, particularly surrounding the killing of journalists. Just like self-censorship in Thailand, civil society groups are key to ending the impunity that stems from such crime, she said.

“The more people are outraged about this impunity, the more convictions we might have and this will bring us some closure,” Ms. de Jesus said.

After the 2010 Maguindanao massacre, in which at least 34 journalists were killed, the Committee to Protect Journalists listed the Philippines as the world’s second-deadliest country for journalists, after Iraq.

Four of those murdered were female journalists who had been raped and shot in their genitals. But so far, no one has been punished for the crime.

Cambodia’s representative at the discussion was Tep Vanny, an anti-eviction activist who has campaigned incessantly for years for those evicted from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak community. She said one of the largest challenges to free speech in Cambodia was the lack of independent media. “Almost 90 percent of the media is run by the government,” she said.

Indonesian journalist Eko Maryadi, president of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, agreed that every member of society was key to freedom of speech and safe­guarding human rights.
“We can not just give our freedom to politicians, but it has to stay in the hands of the civil society, who have to build strong networks and work together,” said Mr. Maryadi, who was jailed for three years in the 1990s on charges of spreading hatred against the government of then Indonesian President Suharto.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

Civil Servants Become CPP Election Campaigners

By and - June 20, 2013

On the ground floor of the Council of Ministers building, dozens of staff and volunteers working for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PQRU) shuffled about Wednesday, providing information to international and local press about the World Heritage Committee meeting taking place next door in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office—the Peace Palace.

Upstairs, in a cramped office on the 4th floor, amid desks piled high with newspapers, PQRU staff were busy doing another job: assisting in the campaign to re-elect Mr. Hun Sen and his long-ruling CPP. 

The PQRU, which operates as a public information office for the Council of Ministers, has typically been used to spotlight the accomplishments of Mr. Hun Sen’s administration.
But now the unit is firmly behind the CPP election bid, and using state resources in the process. The line between their work as civil servants, who should serve the public impartially, and that of ruling party operatives, has blurred to irrelevance, critics say.

“I think they have devoted their time to serving the Cambodian People’s Party, to attacking and counterattacking the opposition party, and have left behind their more important duty to serve the public,” said Moeun Chhean Na­riddh, director of Cambodia Institute for Media Studies.
Over the past two months, the PQRU office has ramped up its role as a campaign machine for the CPP ahead of the July 28 na­tional election.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen will be the CPP candidate for prime minister,” states the narrator of a new 16-minute promotional video clip produced by the PQRU and placed on the unit’s official website.
“If you love him, if you have com­passion for him and if you trust in him, please vote for the CPP. Voting for the CPP is voting for yourself—for peace and development,” the narrator says.

The PQRU has also been at the forefront in attacks on the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, and its acting leader, Kem Sokha.

On Tuesday, the unit posted online a 40-minute video interview with Keo Sophannary, a woman who says she is the scorned ex-mistress of Mr. Sokha. In the interview, the alleged mistress detailed her alleged love affair and de­nounced the opposition leader for failing to help support two children she says they adopted together.

On its website, the PQRU ex­presses its party political leanings under an editorial headlined: “The differences between the actual work the CPP does and the empty promises of the opposition party.”
“The opposition’s policies are at­tempts to tremendously exaggerate their cheating political messages in order to cheat voters and hide the great achievements of the CPP under the rightful leadership of Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia,” the editorial reads.

Tith Sothea, a spokesman for the PQRU who previously worked as a journalist for Voice of America, said that because the government is so largely controlled by the ruling CPP, doing the work of the ruling party was akin to the work of the state.

“This government is led by the CPP, so the general work [of the PQRU], more or less, is to serve mutual benefits,” he said.

The unit, Mr. Sothea said, was launched around 2008 to “show the government’s productivity” and “expose the truth about any faulty information or attack from opposition groups—everyone who is opposition, not just the opposition party—to the public.”

Along with Mr. Sothea, the PQRU includes among its spokesmen Ek Tha, who previously worked for Reuters, while the unit’s chairman is Council of Ministers’ Secretary of State and longtime CPP stalwart Svay Sitha.

Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia executive director Kuol Panha said that the PQRU is a microcosm of widespread “confusion” among civil servants as to whether they serve the state or the CPP.

“I think the current government’s functioning and the role of the government is very confused. They all engage—including civil servants and members of the military on all levels—in supporting the political activity of the CPP,” he said.

“We have no strong democratic institutions to independently check them,” he said of civil servants who see their roles as functionaries of the CPP.

“They must ask supervisors of the office to be accountable, but… they are the people who organize this sort of political service. So nothing happens,” he said.

Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee (NEC), which has been criticized for its links to the CPP, declined to comment directly on the legality of the party political campaigning by the PQRU.

Mr. Nytha did, however, say that “using state resources, such as government officials and their time, to campaign for a political party is not right.”

Mr. Nytha then said that the NEC was not aware of the pro-CPP content on the PQRU’s website. “We have a team to monitor media broadcasts, but perhaps we haven’t gone that far yet,” he said.
Independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay said that, according to the election laws that prohibit campaigning by civil servants or the use of state resources to campaign for political parties, the PQRU is breaking the law.

“It has been doing a job that is not allowed for public servants. It has been using government facilities to conduct a kind of campaign,” he said. “So it has been breaking the law for quite a while.”

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

GLOBAL: China vs America – Quality, plagiarism and propaganda

John Richard Schrock Issue No:275

As with other countries, academe in China is a mixed bag. There are essentially five ‘bands’ of universities from rank one downwards, and I visit the top one – mostly ranks one and two. I have also met some of the 1,000 talent scholars who have been brought here from Western universities, and they are nearly all impressive.

I sit on evaluation panels for masters and doctoral defences in my field of entomology. The universities have all-day sessions where eight to 12 students defend in a row – China has to deal with large numbers of students and limited faculty – and I see a range in quality. 

Masters level is usually based on the professor's research grant and does not require creativity, so the procedure can be very ‘cookbook’, as is also the case in the United States. But their best students easily match the best students in the West.

Incidentally, China's Education Ministry requires that one member of this panel of judges be from outside the university, so there is a closet industry of Chinese professors flying all over the country at this time of year to serve on defence panels.

I also serve as an English production editor for Entomotaxonomia, a journal that used to be in Chinese and is now in English, and am on the board of the journal of the Kansas Entomologcial Society, a similar Western publication – and the quality of submissions is identical. 

Different views on plagiarism

There are problems with some articles submitted to each journal, although the problem understanding plagiarism is greater in papers from China, India, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

The Chinese ministry also requires universities to use computer plagiarism check programmes on every masters thesis and doctoral dissertation. The universities pass this burden on to students by requiring them to take their draft to the library and run the check before submitting it; then every paper is clean when the university checks it.

However, this causes students to define plagiarism as whatever the computer programme catches and that means, say, 10 words in a row. So the definition of plagiarism becomes exceeding this threshold number. 

I encounter this often. Although professors who were trained as graduate students in Western countries fully understand the correct reasons for not plagiarising, the young students have a different history. 

One of the tasks I perform in China is to proofread and correct science paper drafts being submitted for journal publication. The science is often excellent but the wording may be ‘Chinglish’ – a common term they use. Therefore I was alarmed when I read one manuscript that began: “Please note the sections in red are plagiarised.”

After further discussion with the research student, I discovered that these words were taken from her earlier lab write-ups and were all her original words. But, because plagiarism is defined in China to include use of words from prior work, many students across China have come to understand this as plagiarism too.

In Western journals, we do not consider this plagiarism – although it is sometimes called ‘self-plagiarism’ – and journals detect many authors repeating the same wording in their methods section.

Teachers must tell their students if they cannot submit work they have done before in another class. And if the same full research is published in two journals, it is ‘double publication’ and a definite no-no. But this was not stealing words or ideas from others without attribution.

An American student would never have said what the Chinese student above wrote, and this shows a difference in culture. To understand people’s attitudes today, you have to understand where they are coming from; their history leading to this moment. In doing so, you gain a new appreciation for your own history.

Lack of critical thinking

Throughout Asia, from India through China to Japan, large classrooms of students (often 60 or more) sit in front of a teacher. The teacher is master and they are apprentices assigned to learn what is in the textbook and what is said by the teacher. 

Recitation – “everyone repeat after me in unison” – is the widespread method of teaching. And being able to repeat back the exact words on tests is rewarded; that is what being a good K-12 student in Asia has been about.

Contrast that with the US classroom that has the luxury of fewer than 30 students per class. The good teacher asks students to read items A and B, then put it all together in their own words and even argue the points. But our students are cautioned to never claim the original items as their own.

This contrast between memorisation and applied thinking is the contrast between our two past educational cultures. It is the reason why the US has hundreds of Nobel prizes in science and China has none – yet. They know they have to change their system away from memorisation. Meanwhile, though, the US is stupidly continuing the No Child Left Behind, teach-to-the test memorisation system and destroying critical thinking.

Propaganda versus public relations

Before we feel unjustly superior about plagiarism, I will translate another p-word that is commonly posted on some doors in schools, industries and government offices in China: ‘propaganda’.

To Westerners, this word has nothing but bad connotations: false information commanded by oppressive governments. Why in the world would any office translate its function as ‘propaganda’?

Here, China has the upper hand. The West uses the term ‘public relations’. The product of their offices is no different from all our promotional materials that are produced to convince customers they must have this worthless product or that some diploma mill’s online course is just as good as a bona fide class with a real professor.

When our public health departments try to convince citizens to get annual flu shots, China sees that as ‘propaganda’ that is good. I consider the fraudulent claims by storefront ‘schools’ in America – that spend more money on propaganda than on their faculty – to be far more harmful than any ‘propaganda’ I see in China.

In America, there are good institutions and bad institutions. And there are schools that promote themselves and schools that do not. The good and bad institutions that promote themselves will survive. The good and bad schools that do not promote themselves will go under. So we cannot avoid ‘propaganda’ either.

If we limit ‘propaganda’ to only the disinformation used in political and commercial society, then our recent elections and our daily bombardment by media and online make the United States the propaganda capital of the world. America is awash with it.

But because of the same-word, different-meaning confusion represented by my ‘plagiarising’ student, we do not realise it.

* Dr John Richard Schrock teaches at Emporia State University in Kansas. He visits China each year to assist universities with assessments, research papers and publications.

* Click here to read the latest edition of the Kansas School Naturalist, on “Integrity in Scientific Research and Writing”.