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Friday, January 21, 2022

Chinese character removed from David Walliams children’s book over “harmful stereotype”

A Chinese character in David Walliams children’s book ‘The World’s Worst Children’ is to be removed by its publishers over issues regarding “harmful stereotypes”.

The story ‘Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong’ was labelled as ‘stereotypical’ and criticised for “normalising jokes on minorities from a young age”, according to podcaster Georgie Ma.

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A statement from publishing company HarperCollins said, “In consultation with our author and illustrator we can confirm that a new story will be written to replace ‘Brian Wong’ in future editions of The World’s Worst Children. The update will be scheduled at the next reprint as part of an ongoing commitment to regularly reviewing content.”

The publishers met with Georgie Ma on the podcast, who explained that ‘Wong’ and ‘Wrong’ are two words that are commonly used in playgrounds to pick on someone if their surname is Wong.

“Even just the way Brian has been illustrated. He wears glasses, he looks like a nerd, he’s got small eyes… they’re all harmful stereotypes.”

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She added that the character plays the role of a stereotypical minority “where Chinese people are nerdy, swotty and good at maths, we’re not confrontational and we’re high achievers.”

The changes were made following the podcast to which Ma expressed greatfulness towards, stating that the publishers had listened to her and took action on the matter.

David Walliams has not commented on the situation.

IMAGE – “David Walliams” by Little Miss Iz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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