China punishes 27 for ‘tragically ugly’ illustrations in math textbook | China
Chinese authorities have punished 27 people for publishing a math textbook that went viral because of its “tragically ugly” illustrations.
A months-long investigation by a Department for Education task force found the books were ‘not good looking’ and some of the illustrations were ‘quite ugly’ and didn’t ‘correctly reflect the sunny image of children Chinese”.
The math books were published by People’s Education Press nearly 10 years ago and are said to have been used in elementary schools across the country. But they went viral in May after a teacher posted photos of the artwork inside, including people with distorted faces and bulging pants, photos of boys grabbing girls’ skirts and at least one child with an apparent tattoo on the leg.
Social media users were widely amused by the illustrations, but many also criticized them as bringing discredit and “cultural annihilation” to China, speculating they were the deliberate work of Western infiltrators into the industry. ‘education.
The associated hashtags have been viewed billions of times, embarrassing the Communist Party and education authorities who announced a review of all textbooks “to ensure that textbooks adhere to good political direction and value orientation”.
In a lengthy statement on Monday, education authorities said 27 people were found guilty of “neglecting their duties and responsibilities” and were disciplined, including the president of the publishing house, who is seen to inflict formal demerits, that may affect a party member’s status and future employment. The editor and head of the math department’s editorial office also received demerits and were removed from their positions.
The statement said the illustrators and designers were “treated accordingly”, but did not elaborate. They and their studios would no longer be contracted to work on textbook design or related work, he said.
The highly critical statement found a litany of issues with the books, including criticism of the size, quantity and quality of the illustrations, some of which had “scientific and normative issues”.
The results of the investigation were seen and discussed by hundreds of millions of people on Weibo, with some wondering if the sanctions went far enough.
Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu