Image source, PA MediaImage caption, The Little Britain actor and writer has penned a raft of children's novels and short stories

A David Walliams story about a Chinese boy is to be removed from one of his children's books after criticism that it contained "harmful stereotypes".

A new edition of The World's Worst Children will be released next year without the story Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong.

The move comes after podcaster Georgie Ma complained the book was "normalising jokes on minorities from a young age".

After meeting Ma, its publishers confirmed the story would be replaced.

The book featured stories about 10 characters including Nigel Nit-Boy, Grubby Gertrude and Bertha the Blubberer. It sold more than 450,000 copies in the UK when it was published in 2016, with two sequels and other spin-offs released since.

"In consultation with our author and illustrator [Tony Ross] we can confirm that a new story will be written to replace 'Brian Wong' in future editions of The World's Worst Children," a statement from HarperCollins Children's said.

"The update will be scheduled at the next reprint as part of an ongoing commitment to regularly reviewing content."

'Chinese culture is misrepresented'

Speaking to The Bookseller, Ma explained: "'Wong' and 'wrong' are two words that are commonly used in playgrounds to pick on someone if their surname is Wong.

"Even just the way Brian has been illustrated. He wears glasses, he looks like a nerd, he's got small eyes… they're all harmful stereotypes."

She added: "The overall character plays on the model minority myth where Chinese people are nerdy, swotty and good at maths, we're not confrontational and we're high achievers.

"It was just really disappointing to read about that. Personally for me, because I have a toddler, I don't want her being absorbed in these stories where Chinese culture is misrepresented."

Having criticised the character on Instagram earlier this year, Ma said she was now "grateful" to the publishers for "listening and taking action".

Little Britain apology

Walliams, who rose to fame on sketch show Little Britain before becoming a highly successful children's author, has not commented.

He and his TV writing partner Matt Lucas apologised last year for having played characters of different ethnic backgrounds in the popular BBC series.

They used blackface make-up in some sketches and the programme was removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox after objections resurfaced.

The pair said they were "very sorry" and that they "regret that we played characters of other races".

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