A lecturer at the University of Newcastle, in Australia, has come under criticism in the media after Chinese students complained about the use of teaching materials that referred to Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate countries, The Australian reported. A Chinese-language newspaper, Sydney Today, posted a reported exchange between the lecturer, who was not named, and a student.
“You have to consider all the students’ feelings … Chinese students are one-third of this classroom, you make us feel uncomfortable … you have to show your respect,” the student is heard saying on the recording.
The lecturer is heard saying, “If you feel offended about it, that is your opinion.”
The university said in a statement that the lecturer was using material from a Transparency International report “which used the term ‘countries’ to describe both countries and territories.” Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be reunited with the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong is a special administrative region within China.
“The lecturer agreed to discuss the students’ concerns after the lecture and unfortunately this discussion was covertly recorded and then released to the media,” Newcastle’s statement said. “The university is disappointed that there was not an opportunity for the issues raised to be resolved through our normal process in a fair and respectful manner.”
The Australian noted that the dispute over the teaching materials came days after a University of Sydney information technology lecturer apologized for displaying a map that showed certain Chinese-claimed territory as being part of India.