On 19 October, a sociology professor at Zhejiang University, one of the most prestigious universities in China and ranked top 100 in QS rankings 2018, faced backlash mainly from women online over his remarks that he had posted on Weibo back in 2013.
In his controversial post, Professor Feng Gang (冯钢) expressed his sentiment after interviewing candidates for a master’s program.
“I was surprised by the unbalanced gender ratio of recommended post-graduate students, with five women to one man – and unexpectedly the top three candidates were all women,” he wrote. “Less than 10% of women in the master’s program would actually continue on the academic path and most of them don’t really focus on their studies during the program. They are only here for the certificate.”
The original post on Weibo is as shown:
Since then, many female students have stepped up and voiced out disapproval of the remarks by Prof. Feng.
Instead of apologising, he took to double down by replying to a criticism with an even more explicit statement: “History has proven that academia is not the domain of women!”
In fact, the day before that, Douban, another popular forum in China, user eatpineapple, a student believed to be pursuing a PhD in sociology at Tunghai University in Taiwan, launched a petition calling out for Prof. Feng to apologise for his sexist remarks. The petition was signed by more than 20 post-graduate people before it was banned from the website, but still can be viewed in cached form.
That same petition was also posted on Weibo by a prominent feminist activist and sociologist with username @一音顷夏. However, her post has been removed as well.
On October 24th, Prof. Feng responded yet again to the ferocious debate in a defiant interview with Yifeng, in which he claimed that he had no prejudice against women, and he was merely discussing the way in which candidates were selected for the master’s program. He also declared that his opponents were twisting his words, alleging that this was all a premeditated and organized attack against him falsely made by the mob under the guise of political correctness.
“I will not apologize even in 10 afterlives. I didn’t do anything wrong, why should I apologize?” he insisted.