The Lowdown Hub

China textbooks revised after 'ugly' cartoons spark outcry

New cartoons like this one will appear in Chinese textbooks next month

There has been widespread praise for the textbook overhaul on social media. However, most of those comments appeared to be the work of China's 50 Cent Party - government-paid social media users known to post messages in support of the government. In May, there was initially some confusion over the textbook reform. Some on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo had commented that "aesthetics are subjective", and struggled to understand the move. Others suggested that the move reflected a change in Chinese attitudes. For example, heightened tensions between China and the US might have made a child wearing a US-flag less acceptable. This is not the first time that there have been sensitivities in China towards cultural content depicting the Chinese people. In November, a Chinese photographer apologised for her "ignorance" after a picture she shot for French luxury brand Dior sparked local anger. Some argued it was an "insulting" portrayal of a Chinese woman that played on Western stereotypes. In 2019, a debate broke out online over whether a Chinese model with freckles appearing in a Zara campaign "uglified" Chinese people.