Publisher responds to criticisms of controversial Hong Kong textbook

Publisher responds to criticisms of controversial Hong Kong textbook

The publishing company that published a Hong-Kong textbook that contained controversial exercises has explained that the motive of the book was to explain to students about how different cultures live in harmony there.

In its statement, Educational Publishing House stated that the purpose of the textbook was to highlight examples of other races who lived in Hong Kong, and that those races would have been familiar to students there.

The texbook came under fire when a snapshot of a 'fill-in-the-blank' task that went viral among parenting, Filipino and teacher forums online for perpetuating stereotypes in the country.

Here is Educational Publishing House's response, which was via email to Stomp:

"For the topic 'Racial Harmony', the Editor's intention was to highlight examples of non-Chinese who live in Hong Kong and are familiar to local primary students, in order for the students to understand how different cultures live in harmony in Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong has never shown any prejudice towards different occupations, but has always respected people who are hard-working and responsible. The examples used in this textbook are meant for the students to be thankful of people in various working positions.

"Domestic helpers are highly respected and greatly appreciated in Hong Kong. There are over 180,000 Filipinos living and working in Hong Kong, the majority as domestic workers, and they make an indispensable contribution to society.

"As members of their employers' households, they are often treasured as part of the family. All occupations have equal value, and we fully respect this. The company always aims to publish high-quality textbooks to meet the needs of Hong Kong schools.

"We understand the concerns expressed and take them fully to heart. In view of the comments, we will consult different ethnic groups and other stakeholders for improvements so as to avoid any unintended interpretation of our teaching materials."

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