China’s Primary School Textbook Investigated for Racist and Sexually Provocative Illustrations

Thirsty for JUICE content? Quench your cravings on our Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp

After a public outcry over drawings considered ugly, sexually provocative, and covertly pro-American in China’s school textbooks, the government has ordered countrywide investigations.

Controversial for a variety of reasons, these illustrations have appeared in Chinese math textbooks for over a decade.

Spurred on by complaints from Chinese internet users that the images of youngsters with tiny, drooping, wide-set eyes and large foreheads are hideous, unpleasant, and racist in nature, officials also vowed to look into the drawings that some have seen as containing sexual implications.

One artwork depicts a female jumping rope as her underwear is visible; another shows a guy with his hands on a girl’s chest while another tugs on her skirt; in all three examples, the girls are shown in a sexually explicit manner.

Others claim that these images are “pro-American,” citing the children’s clothing, which has stars and stripes and other patriotic American patterns.

Since Thursday, when images of the illustrations first appeared online, there has been a frenzy of conversation on Chinese social media, Weibo about how offensive they are.

A lot of people were shocked and outraged to see that such substandard drawings had been made into textbooks produced by the country’s largest textbook publisher, the state-owned People’s Education Press.

Since 2013, the textbooks have been used in classrooms throughout the country with no one paying attention to the hidden messages lurking behind the illustrations.

An influential group of nationalists promptly pinned the blame on “Western cultural infiltration,” claiming that artists were secretly working for the United States, to indoctrinate Chinese schoolchildren.

However, this claim was never backed up by any evidence.

The People’s Education Press said that it will withdraw the textbooks and redesign the pictures in the wake of the outrage, but the public’s ire remains unabated.

Chinese education officials intervened on Saturday, ordering the publisher to rectify and reform its publications and ensure that the revised edition is accessible for the next academic year’s first day of class.

It also ordered a national thorough assessment of textbooks to ensure that instructional materials adhere to right political orientations and ideals, promote exceptional Chinese culture and comply to public aesthetic sensibilities.

Juice WhatsApp banner