Li had a loaded air pistol in his pocked during his meeting with Prof Graves.
The son of a Chinese government official who attempted to bribe a professor at the University of Bath has been jailed for 12 months by a UK court.
At a meeting he had requested to discuss a 37 percent mark he had recently received on his dissertation (3 percentage points short of a pass) Li Yang placed £5,000 (47,000 yuan) in cash on the table between himself and Prof Andrew Graves.
“I’m a businessman,” Li told the professor.
Graves, who heads Bath University’s School of Management, had told Li he could resubmit his dissertation, lodge an official appeal against the mark, or accept it and withdraw from the course.
“There is a fourth option, you can keep the money if you give me a pass mark and I won’t bother you again,” Li said.
When his clumsy attempt at bribery was rebuffed, Li went to leave, dropping a loaded air pistol on the floor as he did so.
Judge Longman, sentencing, told Li:
You attempted to persuade a university professor to behave in such a way that if it had been successful you would have undermined the integrity of the universities in the UK and the legitimacy of degrees from universities here, the University of Bath in particular.
Your bid to achieve a pass mark by offering what was a bribe to your professor was ill conceived to the point of being a spectacular mistake and one which was doomed to fail from the start.
This was made even more serious by the fact that you had an imitation firearm in your possession.
I have no doubt that it provoked fear in Professor Graves, though I am satisfied that you did not acquire it for the purpose of the meeting.
But you plainly did know you had it on you, and you risked others at the meeting seeing it.
Defending Li, Blake James said the Chinese man came from an “affluent family”, where his father is a respected government official and businessman (and presumably more adept at bribery).
James refuted claims that Li was a “sham student” and said the dissertation mark was a “bitter blow” for his client, who was hoping to remain in the UK past graduation.
[BBC, Daily Mail]