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China penalises publishers for depicting the nation’s youth as being “ugly” in textbook illustrations.

A series of math textbook illustrations that an inquiry found represented the nation’s students as “ugly” resulted in the punishment of more than two dozen education officials in China, Bloomberg reported.

27 employees of the state-owned publisher, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Teaching on Monday, received warnings or were fired for illustrations that “fell short of the essential standards of moral education.”

The ministry stated that the illustrations’ overall look does not reflect the public’s aesthetic preferences. According to the ministry, “some illustrated characters are unsightly, demonstrate poor spirit and style, and do not portray a positive picture of our nation’s children.”

Chinese social media users were outraged by drawings of students with small eyes that some deemed racist, the apparent depiction of male genitalia on boys’ jeans, and children wearing clothing with the Stars and Stripes that was interpreted as pro-America garb. The largest textbook publisher in the nation apologised in the public on its official WeChat account in May after being told to alter its materials for the semester starting in September.

China has tightened oversight of its textbooks and curricula in recent years in an effort to instil patriotism in its students. Primary and secondary pupils have been taught about President Xi Jinping’s ideological beliefs, and the government has taken attempts to outlaw textbooks from foreign publishers.

. The publisher didn’t grasp the aim of educational literature, according to the education ministry. In order to ensure that they “always adhere to the correct political direction and value orientation,” it committed to strengthen the Communist Party’s control over educational resources.