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China: Around The Nation

Australian college quiz question courts controversy: ‘Chinese officials speak the truth only when...’

Monash University suspends lecturer for writing quiz that Chinese students say presented a biased and outdated picture of the mainland

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 1:46pm

One of Australia’s leading universities has suspended a teacher after a quiz he designed sparked criticism that some questions were prejudiced against China, the website of state-run newspaper reported.

One of the most controversial questions asked students at Monash University in Melbourne about “a common saying in China”: when do government officials speak the truth? The correct answer: when they are drunk or careless.

The university responded last week that the opinion contained in the quiz do not reflect its beliefs and would investigate into more teaching materials possibly involving similar views, Huanqiu.com, the website of the Global Times, reported.

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Half of the questions in the quiz, published on the university website for students majoring in human resources management, including Australians, Chinese, and Indians, are related to China, and a few have aroused controversy among Chinese students.

Another question they believed inappropriate was about the major barrier to modernisation and introduction of new technology and industrial reform in China. The correct answer was lack of skilled workers, especially managers, which many found was opposite to the truth today.

The Chinese consulate in Melbourne pushed the university to conduct an investigation after it received complaints from the students.

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The deputy dean of the school involved, Monash Business School, told students in an email last week that the quiz had been immediately withdrawn after the school became aware of the concerns it triggered.

The school didn’t name the teacher who wrote the quiz nor what was the source of information that the questions were based on.