何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)


A Comedy (or Tragedy) of Errors 精选

已有 13633 次阅读 2012-1-2 04:59 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察|关键词:office,class,center| office, class, center


Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends” please read my 公告first.

Readers of my recent blogarticle “On the Election of Academicians” http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=522841 probably noticed a series of somewhat heated commentsand replies(#3, #10, #12) between one blogger 罗发龙  penname “Laogan” and me. The substance and theconclusion were


From Laogon – In one part of one sentence in yourarticle, you spoke of an untruth for which you misled the public and should beashamed of yourself

My reply – I standby everything I said


HereI want to give the back story on how did this interchangecame about so that readers will not judge either one of us unfairly.


1.    It all started when Idecided to publish my above article on Science Net because of the censorship ofa part of my interview with People’s Daily which appeared in the paper on12/22/2011. I was well aware that it may be controversial. Thus, I consultedsome of my Chinese friends. They all agreed that I should do so. However, onetrusted friend advised me that “80% of Chinese will agree with you and theother 20% will hate you”. Thus be prepared for retaliation.

2.    I, after due consideration,still decided to post my article.

3.    Almost immediately Ireceived comment #3 from Laogan which reads:


 您曾说: "美国院士候选人不知道自己被提名".这肯定是不实际的, 在误导大家.

And my first reply: I don't deny there are 潜规则in any system of operation. But this is not the main point of my position andmodest suggestions.


4.    While I did not dispute the essential truth of thecomment, I did question the statistic 绝大多数 quoted in my mind since no one can know such data andnot even the Academies themselves (see explanatory note #1 below). Given thefact that the People’s Daily censured part of my interview; the warning from agood friend; and the first sentence of Laogan’s article


看到科学网上对有人的访谈说: "美国院士候选人不知道自己被提名".这肯定是不实际的, 在误导大which appears to be specifically directed at my interview article;


 I said to myself “ they cannot dispute any of theobjective facts in the article, so they picked such a inconsequential detail toshow their displeasure”

5.    Out of curiosity, I googled the blogger and received thefollowing information罗发龙 19644月生,1983年毕业于西安电讯工程学院,1991年在西北电子科技大学获博士学位。现为清华大学自动化系副教. This surprised me greatly. Since thismeans we are in the same department of the same university. Under ordinarycircumstance even though I do not know this person, common courtesy calls for aprivate communication first before accusing me of 误导大家. A further careful reading of his comment and myarticle caused me to write an additional reply to his comment:


 You said "候选人不知道自己被提名".But my article only said "候选人也不应该知道自己被提名". Communication between thenominators and the candidate is a private matter and does not invalidate theOBJECTIVE FACTS of the article. 


At thispoint, I was a little annoyed since now he is accusing me of saying something which I never did nor intended to say.

6.    Thus, I began to suspect that this is an orchestrated and deliberate attack onme by someone in my department at Tsinghua whom I don’t know but who issomehow unhappy with me for whatever reason or by some group unhappy with thePeople’s Daily article.

7.    Thus, I left a comment on his blog article which read:


我了解也可以同情作者對我的慱文有竟見http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=522841 。不過同时请讀者看我的原文,人民日報的正確報道,及我對作者的回答 (reply to comment #3)

And his reply:

博主回复(2011-12-29 00:56)That article of mine was posted andappeared earlier than yours. It seems
that "
评选过程全部保密,候选人不应该知道自己被提名" was not from you instead of thenewspaper. If this was the case, please accept my apology. Anyway, "候选人不应该知道自己被提名" in your Chinese version is totally incorrect andis completely misleading.


While we are still civil toeach other, his last sentence show he was annoyed also and was a bit aggressivethough still not directly at me. In my now conspiracy-oriented mind, I dismissedhis point about posting his article earlier since several people in Chinaalready know about my article before its posting.


8.   Note my phrase ”我了解也可以同情作者對我的慱文有竟見 was actually meantas a conciliatory remark. The reason for it is this. Every country has very patrioticpersons who consider their own country can do nothing wrong and must be firstin every category. I have encountered such comments/feelings earlier in my blogand visits in the past (see explanatory note #2 below). Thus, what I was sayingor meant is that “you (the blogger) may not like my article because you think Iam openly criticizing the Chinese system of electing academicians as inferiorto that of the US (but I was only honestly responding to questions by reporterof the newspaper, People’s Daily. Since you cannot contradict most of myarticle on objective facts, you picked one sentence out of several hundreds toshow that the US system also has faults.” This I can understand or sympathize.

9.   The next day laogan added the following comment (#10 on my blogarticle):

what does mean "候选人也不应该知道自己被提名" in your article?. If you are not able to answer inChinese, please state it in English. And my answer

博主回复(2011-12-2902:37)The academies urges the members to nominatecandidate in confidence to avoid embarrassment. But sometimes people (to myknowledge) does work with the candidate to get important data. But this doesnot compromise standard nor qualifies the election procedure as"black" and nor for you to say I am misleading the public.


In other words, I explained that theUS academy always urged nominator to make the nomination confidential even fromthe candidate for fear of embarrassment in case the nomination failed(Statistically, only one nomination in four succeeds every year). Of course theAcademies cannot regulate what the nominators actually do. And I basicallyagreed with Laogan since the beginning of our exchanges that communicationsbetween the nominator and the candidate can occur. In any case, suchcommunication is a private matter between the two parties and does notinfluence the selection process. The only inconsequential dispute in my opinionis really about how prevalent is this practice which nobody can claim to know.But this was either not understood by Laogan or dismissed by him. Our final exchanges appeared below:


(comment#12 in my blog ) BY Laogan:First, you stated to public (Chinese newspaper):
After I questioned, you replied (only to those who checked your blog):
"COMMUNICATION between the nominators and the candidate is a privatematter".

Are you still believing that "
候选人也不应该知道自己被提名" (which is stillthe information that most Chinese audience have got from your article) is thereality and correct information?

If No, do you need any action to correct it?
If Yes, of course, this is your right and no one could do anything except Ifeel shame.

Communication between the nominators and the candidate is a private matter

博主回复(2011-12-3002:01)I have stated at the beginning of my blog fouryears ago and repeatedly later on that my purpose is not to start a disputewith anyone. I standby what I said in this piece and in the comments andreplies. But you can have the last word. I consider the discussion closed.


At this point it was clearneither of us were happy or satisfied with the other. But this is how matterrested.


Nevertheless, there was somenagging concern about Laogan’s claim of prior posting and particularly hisbeing my colleague in the same department of the same university. Thus, Idecided to ask a senior colleague in the department who has been with Tsinghuaand the Automation department all his life. His reply was another greatsurprise – namely 罗发龙 or Laogan was only a researchassociate in the department years ago; have long since left the department; andnot “现为清华大学自动化系副教as the Google search showed. Using hisEnglish name “Fa-long Luo” one finds that he is now a successfulChinese-American active in professional and technological business affairs inthe US for at least decade now. Thus, myphrase ”我了解也可以同情作者對我的慱文有竟見” (in item #8above) meant as a conciliatory remarkcan be totally interpreted differently and possibly as sarcasm by him.  SEE Note added below 11/12/2012)


In any case, here is my back story on this “tempest ina teapot ”. While we remain in disagreement on what percentage of candidatesare aware of his/her own nomination in the US system; whether this has any“black” influence on the election; and finally if I should be ashamed ofmyself; the readers of our blogs can make up their own minds. Before Idiscovered the erroneous fact by Google and new facts concerning the author, 罗发龙, who is actually in the US,  I have saidthat he should have the last words.I invite him to do so here.  

(Note added 1/2/2012 US EST. 6:22pm China time 1/3/2012 6:22 am.  I just found out that  罗发龙 has closed his blog pages for viewing, changed his real name to his penname on his blog and deleted his personal photo. I don't think this was coincidental and may represent his last words.)

Explanatory note 1.  No one including the Academies asks orundertakes an investigation on how each nomination papers are prepared in theUS (they can only recommend that the forms are prepared confidentially to avoidembarrassment). As I said, any communication between the nominator and thecandidate is their own business. The peer committee evaluating the candidate isonly concerned with the veracity and completeness of the nomination.


Explanatory note 2. In one of my earlier blogs about intellectual property, one readercommented that there is no such concept in the Communist Party Manifesto andthe Chinese Constitution. Hence, Chinese can totally disregard concerns about“intellectual property”. In another instance a reviewer of the ph.d thesis ofmy first Tsinghua student complained that the thesis did not contain anyreferences to Chinese contribution on the subject. It was inconceivable to thereviewer that China has not caught up with research on the subject and that myjob at Tsinghua was precisely to introduce such new ideas into the Chinesecommunity

Note added 11/12/2012: I received today the following note from Fa-Long Luo

From Fa-Long Luo Please remove an inappropriate blog of yours 1:36 PM

HiProf. Ho,

I just noticed with a very big surprise that you have a blogposted in


where disclosed some personal information of mine.
I am not sure what you talked about and what happenedin this blog. It seems that you have connected different people with the samename.

Anyway, it would be a appropriate way to delete  thisblog as soon as possible.


Apparently according to this writer he is not the  罗发龙 Fa-Long Luo, under discussion and currently living in America as my Google search indicated. Thus, I now have no idea who and where is the real 罗发龙 Fa-Long Luo. My sincere apologies to this Chinese American who has the same name.


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