In China, 27 people were punished for illustrations in a mathematics textbook. They have a pulled up skirt and a boy grabbing a girl

Anhelina Sheremet

27 people have been punished in China for publishing a maths textbook that went viral because of its "tragically ugly" illustrations.

This is reported by The Guardian.

A team from the Ministry of Education conducted a months-long investigation that found the books were "ugly" and some of the illustrations were "quite ugly" and "did not properly reflect the sunny image of Chinese children".

As a result, 27 people were found to be "neglecting their duties" and faced penalties, including the president of the publishing house, who was given formal penalties that could affect his standing as a party member and his future employment. The editor-in-chief and the head of the editorial office of the Faculty of Mathematics were also reprimanded and dismissed. The studios of illustrators and designers who worked on this book will no longer be involved in such or similar work.

Math books were published by Peopleʼs Education Press almost 10 years ago. They were used in elementary schools across the country, but the textbooks went viral in May after a teacher posted photos of their illustrations. They show children "with distorted faces", boys grabbing girlsʼ skirts, and at least one child with an obvious tattoo on his leg.

Social media users were largely amused by the illustrations, but many also criticized them for bringing China into disrepute and "cultural destruction", suggesting they were the deliberate work of Western educational spies.

Hashtags with these photos have garnered billions of views, embarrassing the Communist Party and education authorities, who have announced a review of all textbooks "to ensure that the textbooks adhere to the correct political orientation and value orientation."