China Punishes 27 Individuals For “Ugly” Illustrations In Math Textbooks

More than two dozen Chinese educational authorities were reprimanded after an investigation revealed that a series of graphics in math textbooks portrayed Chinese students in an unfavorable way. Approximately 27 employees at the state-owned publisher were disciplined or sacked on Monday after the Ministry of Education released a statement claiming the images had “failed to fulfill the basic standards of moral education.”

Image Citation: Davidson, Helen. “China Punishes 27 People over ‘Tragically Ugly’ Illustrations in Maths Textbook | China | The Guardian.” The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com, 23 Aug. 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/23/china-punishes-27-people-over-tragically-ugly-illustrations-in-maths-textbook.

The school released the following statement after receiving feedback that some pupils were “offended” by the images. The ministry said in a statement that “the overall style of the photos does not match the aesthetic sensitivities of the public.” “Some of the sketched figures are disgusting to look at, lack a sense of style, and do not paint a positive image of the young of our nation.” Several issues with primary school books published by the People’s Education Press in May sparked outrage on Chinese social media, including illustrations of students with small eyes; apparent depictions of male genitalia on boys’ pants; and children wearing clothing bearing stars and stripes, which was seen as pro-American attire. The most important textbook publisher in the country issued a public apology in the month of May through the official account linked with its WeChat platform after receiving instructions to revise its course materials for the academic year commencing in September.

Recently, China has tightened its grip over its textbooks and educational system in an attempt to instill a stronger sense of patriotism in its youth. Government attempts to limit the usage of textbooks from foreign publishers have included educating students on President Xi Jinping’s ideological beliefs in primary and secondary schools. On Monday, the Ministry of Education said the publisher completely misunderstood the role of textbooks in the classroom. It vowed to increase Communist Party oversight of textbooks to ensure they “always correspond to the right political direction and value orientation.”

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