The political sensitivities that should be observed when doing business with China

By Barry Li

There was news recently that a lecturer from Monash University had unintentionally offended Chinese students with a question regarding Chinese stereotypes in a course quiz. Following university inquiries, the lecturer was suspended and Monash has since removed the popular textbook (Human Resources Management by Raymond J. Stone) while apologising to the incensed Chinese community. The business school textbook quoted outdated information about Chinese government officials and skilled labours, resulting in Chinese international students feeling humiliated.  While I personally believe that some may have overacted to the inappropriate question, the textbook – despite being republished in its 9th edition this year – clearly needs its contents revised and updated; universities and lecturers from this experience should enhance their awareness of political sensitivities while doing business with China, and this very much includes when teaching Chinese international students.

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