It is reported that at a Shenzhen university, some 40 professors competed for the post of Chuzhang (處長)，a mid-level official title in the mailand’s bureaucratic system. Why is it that the professors are so keen to be an official? In most other countries, the professors and scholars are usually happy to be left focusing on their research and teaching. They don’t want to bother with administrative work. Not in China. The average basic salary in China for a professor is less than RMB25,000 (US$3,700) a year. If you are an official in the university, you will have much more, including large expenses allowances, fully paid overseas trips and even personal chauffeurs.
And they have power too – great power. The officials in the university have the biggest say on everything, from deciding which staff and courses to stay to funding distribution. So who is the top man in the university? You would think it is the President or Vice chancellor. Nope. It is the communist party secretary. Every public university, even now, has a communist party secretary who is the “decider” of the university.
For mainland’s universities to be world-class, they have a really long way to go. Not until there is revolutionary change in the society when it values free thinking and democracy.