Authorities in China are offended by the drawings in a math textbook as they are too hideous to represent the beauty of Chinese children.
A months-long investigation by a ministry of education working group found the books were “not beautiful” and some illustrations were “quite ugly” and did not “properly reflect the sunny image of China’s children.”
The mathematics books were published by the People’s Education Press nearly a decade ago and were reportedly used in elementary schools across the country. The textbook pages went viral after a teacher published photos of the illustrations inside, including people with distorted faces and bulging pants, boys pictures grabbing girls’ skirts and at least one child with an apparent leg tattoo.
Social media users were largely amused by the illustrations but many also criticized them as bringing disrepute and “cultural annihilation” to China, speculating they were the deliberate work of western infiltrators in the education sector.
Related hashtags were viewed billions of times, embarrassing the Communist party and education authorities who announced a review of all textbooks “to ensure that the textbooks adhere to the correct political direction and value orientation.”
An illustration has the power to impact the career trajectory of qualified professionals. The education officials declared that 27 people were found to have “neglected their duties and responsibilities” and were punished. This includes the president of the publishing house, who was given formal demerits, which can affect a party member’s standing and future employment. The editor-in-chief and the head of the maths department editing office were also given demerits and dismissed from their roles.