Resources for Educators who are recruiting and enrolling students from China in the USA.
Published On: Fri, May 31st, 2013

Plagiarism- Giving Credit

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citationIn the US, we respect originality and individualism. That is why when we reference or use someone’s work without acknowledging the originator or quoting the source of our information it is a huge offense.

When I studied Chinese Art History, what I learned was that for a student in Chinese art to even begin defining his own style, he must master the work of the great painters before him. Given China’s 5000 years of history, there are a lot of great masters in art and literature. You can imagine how Chinese painter in the Qing dynasty would have to be familiar with great masters from the previous Ming Dynasty like Shen Zhou (Wu School Founder). He would meticulously study a famous painting by this artist and try to copy or master it. In fact, paintings collected by the Emperor of China would often have copies done of an artist only it was known by the seal used on the sides of the painting that this painting is a copy done in honor of the original artist. To a Chinese scholar, mastering a predecessor’s work is the path to finding your own way or style.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China as well as the advent of the internet, researching and using other people’s work as reference in your own is still common in China. However the practice of acknowledging the originator of the work is not so common. When I speak to my Chinese students, I asked him how they would feel if they researched and worked on a new idea only they would not receive credit for their work. Most students would be upset. I encourage educators to teach not just the students from China but all students on the importance of research, how to research, put together a bibliography and reference or quote appropriately. By giving credit to others for their work, your student’s work will be given credit in return.

Irene Tieh
Cross-Cultural Connector and
Founder of USA College Connection

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