A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician who revealed the plagiarism of former defense minister Andrew Yang (楊念祖), which led to his resignation yesterday, denied a conspiracy theory and said he found out about the plagiarism by chance.
Chu Cheng-chi (朱政騏), executive director of the DPP’s Taipei City Chapter, said he gave the information about Yang to the Chinese-language Next Magazine after accidentally discovering Yang had plagiarized material for a chapter in a book published in 2007.
“There was no conspiracy … I got the information after conducting an Internet search using Google, not from high-ranking military officials,” Chu said yesterday morning after Yang’s abrupt resignation the night before shocked the public.
Next Magazine published the story yesterday.
However, Yang pre-empted publication of the story and announced his resignation on Tuesday night, telling a news conference that some portions of his article were ghostwritten by a former colleague, who used material from other works without proper citation.
According to Chu, he found something unusual while reading Yang’s article in the book Ready for the D-Day last week, as many terms that were usually used only in China appeared in the article. Out of curiosity, he searched for the text on the Internet and found that most of the article had plagiarized a translated thesis, authored by US military expert Richard Fisher, which was published in a Chinese magazine in June 2006.
“An estimated 24 pages of Yang’s 39-page article, or about two-thirds of the article, were plagiarized,” Chu said.
Prior to Tuesday’s revelation, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) asked Yang about the issue in an interpellation session in the legislature on Wednesday last week.
Yang then said that he was not aware of any plagiarism in his academic publications. Kuan did not elaborate and told Yang that she “would leave it at that for now,” but asked Yang to review his academic works.
Kuan said in posts on her Facebook page that she had received the information from a whistleblower and she decided to “give Yang a chance” by withholding further information in the question-and-answer session, because Yang was the first civilian defense minister under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Kuan added that she had a hard time figuring out why Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) did not support Yang in the matter.
Meanwhile, in response to queries by the Taipei Times, Fisher said in an e-mail that he did not understand the circumstances of Yang’s resignation and regretted being associated with that decision in any way.
“He [Yang] has made a significant contribution to the security of the people of Taiwan and to the strength of Taiwan’s friendship with the United States, and I hope that can continue,” Fisher said.
Additional reporting by William Lowther