‘Tragically ugly’ textbook causes social media outcry in China | China

China’s Ministry of Education has ordered a public publisher to rectify a textbook that has gone viral over what social media users have called “tragically ugly” and inappropriate depictions of children.

Mathematics books published by People’s Education Press contain illustrations of people with distorted faces and bulging pants. Boys are seen grabbing girls’ skirts and a child appears to have a tattoo on his leg.

The books would be used in elementary schools across the country, from Shandong province in the northeast to Yunnan in the south.

Photos of the footage have gone viral on Chinese social media. The related hashtags had been viewed more than 4 billion times on Monday and millions of comments were left under the posts.

Some social media users came to the conclusion that the artwork was deliberately bad and provocative. Photo: provided

Some social media users came to the conclusion that the artwork was deliberately bad and provocative, noting an upside-down Chinese flag in one case and clothing in the color combination of the American flag, according to a report on the website. social media monitor What’s On Weibo. .

One commentator called the illustrations “diabolical” and warned of a “worrying” future where “the education department is infiltrated by the West and the textbooks are manipulated by people who have infiltrated the system”.

Others were aggrieved that more talented artists were not hired for the job.

One commentator said the manual was around ten years old and complaints had been raised before, but less attention had been given to the issue.

” The core [problem] is still no one taking responsibility,” they wrote. “It is the cultural annihilation of the country, the alarm clock is too late and the cost of auditing crimes is too low.”

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A teacher at a school in Shanghai’s Qingpu district posted several photos online and said the images failed to convey “the innocence, self-motivation and sunshine of Chinese children”.

In response to the outcry, the Department for Education said it had launched a review of all textbooks for primary and secondary schools, focusing on content and illustration, “to ensure that textbooks adhere to good political direction and value orientation, promote excellent Chinese culture, and conform to the aesthetic habits of the public’.

He said he asked the publisher to “immediately rectify” the manual and invited public comments.

Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu

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