Chinese Cartoonists’ Indecent Illustrations

The government of People’s Republic of China has disciplined those it deems responsible for “tragically ugly” illustrations that appeared in an elementary school math book.

In May of 2022,

Photos of the pictures went viral on China’s social media. Related hashtags had been viewed more than 4bn times by Monday and millions of comments were left beneath posts.

The Guardian recently updated the story:

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”.

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”.

Punishments include…

…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.

The cartoonists/illustrators?

… were “dealt with accordingly” but did not give details.

For those with a more prurient curiosity Weibo (“Reporting Social trends in China”)
has a gallery of the offending illustrations.

The children depicted in the teaching material have small, droopy eyes and big foreheads. Some commenters think their clothing also looks weird and that the overall design is just strange and “tragically ugly.”

Some images depicting little boys also drew controversy for allegedly showing a bulge in the pants. Adding girls sticking out their tongues, boys grabbing girls, a reversed Chinese flag, and some depictions of children’s clothing in the American flag colors, many people think the books are not just ugly but also have “evil intentions.”