China punishes 27 officials over 'ugly' school textbook illustrations

The publishing house also lacked guidance and supervision to review textbooks, the MOE said in the statement cited by Global Times.
Representative Image
Representative Image

BEIJING: Chinese authorities have punished 27 officials, including senior executives of People's Education Press, over the publication of a mathematics textbook that showed "ugly" as well as sexually suggestive illustrations. Feng Xu, one of the authors of the illustrations in the new textbooks from the CAFA, as per the Global Times on Monday, said that he redrew the illustrations for the second-grade maths textbooks, and the new illustrations attempted to present the artistic expression of traditional Chinese painting, and the spirit of Chinese children, as well as being in line with the practice of teaching primary school maths.

Feng said that the studio of the School of Urban Design from the CAFA has been engaged in illustrations for 14 years, but that's not the same as developing illustrations for textbooks. The textbooks' illustrations have to ensure they can reflect the will of the Party and the country, reveal fine Chinese traditional culture, and follow children's cognitive and physical and mental development rules, among other issues. He said the illustrations were done through a process of repeated revision amid a very tight schedule and the epidemic.

According to Global Times, the Party chief of the publishing house, Huang Qiang, was given a serious intra-Party warning and major demerit, and editor-in-chief Guo Ge was removed from the post. While illustration designers Wu Yong, Lu Min, and Lu Jingren, as well as their workshops, would no longer be used for national textbooks' design and illustration, as per the Chinese media outlet.

China's Ministry of Education (MOE) launched an investigation into the controversial math textbooks in May. The investigation concluded that the People's Education Press failed to understand the educational function of the textbooks illustrations, did not have a complete selection system for illustrators, did not pay attention to readers' suggestions, and failed to timely rectify the problems of illustrations.

The publishing house also lacked guidance and supervision to review textbooks, the MOE said in the statement cited by Global Times.

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