China's prestigious Academy of Sciences has been shaken by last month's student protests with the abrupt removal of the academy's top two officers. The dimissal last week of Lu Jiaxi, academy president and internationally known scientist, and vice-president Yan Dongsheng has again raised the issue of politics intruding into the academy's work.
The academy is directly responsible for administering the Chinese University of Science and Technology in Hefei, where the student protests began in early December. Peking observers say the academy's officers may have taken sides in the controversy over that protest and in debate over the dismissal of the university's top officials. The school's vice-president, Fang Lizhi, was relieved of his post and formally expelled from the Communist Party last week.
The newly appointed academy president, Zhou Guangzhao, is a distinguished scientist with an international reputation. The academy's new vice-president and new president of the university in Hefei, Teng Teng, formerly served as deputy head of the propaganda department of the Communist Party's Central Committee.
``It's the process that's the shocker, not the people involved,'' one Peking observer said.
In 1981, academy members elected Mr. Lu president. The process was hailed as evidence that China's extensive scientific research work would proceed in a ``democratic academic atmosphere'' and be free of the factional politics which hindered the scientific community in the past.
The Academy of Sciences contains more than 120 institutes which conduct China's basic scientific research. It has extensive exchange programs with the West, including more than 30 long-term research projects with the United States.