Former official condemns children’s book for containing Chinese flag
  • By Phuc Hung | | March 09, 2013 09:33 AM
 >>  Children's book withdrawn from market for containing Chinese flag

The withdrawal of children books that contained the image of a Chinese flag is not the best and the most effective solution, with those responsible told to take ‘responsibility’ for their actions an official has said.


A children’s book containing an image of Chinese flag

Prof Pham Minh Hac, former Minister of Education and Training recently spoke to DTiNews about the issue.

A few days ago, a children’s book was found to contain an image of a Chinese flag. What are your comments about the explanations by concerning parties?

I know about the issue. Apart from the book published by the Dan Tri Publishing House you’ve mentioned, a book that guides children preparing to enter primary education how to learn the alphabet authored by Nguyen Thi Thuy Ha and published by University of Education’s Publishing House also contained images of Chinese flag. It’s very sad news. But I even felt worse when reading explanations by the concerned parties. You’re all aware that textbooks for children must contain precise contents. Due attention should be made to the publishing of books for nursery children who are often greatly impressed by images.

I do think that the withdrawal of all Chinese flag-contained books is not the best solution to the issue. It’s unacceptable that people said that incident was beyond their control or those books were just pilot editions, or that the issue was not important. They should admit their mistakes with the responsibility falling on several people including the author, editors, the publishing houses and partners as well as the Ministry of Information and Communication’s Department of Publishing. This is one of major issues of the country’s education.

As the book was highly regarded and had absolutely no offensive content about Vietnam nor reference to sovereignty issues, why do you think it’s important to make an issue about it having a Chinese flag in the book?

Even though an image of Chinese flag is just a small item in the book, it carries significant message in terms of education for children. I really don’t agree with an explanation that the maintaining of the flag is to comply with a copyright contract with foreign partners. It’s an unacceptable answer as it proves their lack of responsibility.

Do these answers prove that there are different perceptions about people’s responsibilities?

Like I said above, the responsibility should fall on different people, including the author, editors, the publishing house and their partners. However, the Publishing Department should be the first to be held accountable. Strict punishments should be applied as a good deterrence.

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