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Chinese attitudes to plagiarism: a genre analysis of editorial statements on plagiarism cases (1950s-1960s)

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Y. Li
  • J. Flowerdew
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Ethics and Behavior
Issue number7
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)579-596
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date31/08/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


It has been assumed sometimes that plagiarism is traditionally accepted in Confucian-heritage cultures such as China. In this paper we provide evidence to counter such a view. Focusing on a corpus of editorial statements on plagiarism cases published in Chinese journals in the decade of the early 1950s-the early 1960s, we present an integrated genre analysis and discourse analysis of this data. We illuminate 12 rhetorical move types in the focal genre and intertextual links between the genre and two related genres (readers’ disclosure reports and plagiarizers’ apologies) and demonstrate how plagiarism is construed as a transgressive practice and is imbued with the post-revolutionary Communist discourse of its historical period. The implications of the study apply to the academic community in terms of teaching and learning, on the one hand, and publication practices, on the other. We end the paper by emphasizing the importance of employing a contextualized approach to the study of plagiarism and the power of a triangulated genre and discourse analytic approach in the case of both the present research and the investigation of language use in the real-world more generally.