Dong Fan (董藩) is a professor and director of the Real Estate Research Center of the Beijing Normal University. Born in 1967, Dong graduated from the Renmin University of China in 2003 and received a Ph.D. in economics. He is an influential person in the field of Chinese real estate and social sciences. Dong told his graduate students in his micro blog on April 4, 2011 that they "should not visit him or mention him as their mentor if they cannot amass a fortune of 40 million yuan (US$6.1 million) by the age of 40. For highly educated people, poverty means disgrace and failure."
His words have attracted the attention of thousands of netizens and triggered a heated discussion on the issue of money worship in China's educational system. In response to doubts and criticism, Dong took to his microblog on April 7 to clarify that his "teasing" words only served to encourage his students to work hard upon entering the business world and that his message did not apply to all occupations.
"Forty million yuan won't be a high standard for a senior manager or proprietor with a postgraduate degree when my students turn 40," Dong wrote, adding that his remarks were "about money and investments in the real estate field, not a comment on morality. It's not necessarily worldly to talk about money just as it's not always chaste to talk about art."