Remember that rather rude 'washcloth' joke that was found in the English homework of young students at a Shanghai school? Well, it just became what might be the most expensive joke ever, as the publisher has been ordered to pay a fine of RMB115,000 (USD17,088) for it, reports Shine.
The scandal began earlier this year, when an eighth-grade homework assignment containing obscene content began circulating on the internet, triggering criticism and condemnation from nearly all netizens – especially parents.
Image via 鋼筆様子/Weibo
The national office against pornography and illegal publications took the incident seriously and quickly ordered a citywide investigation with the assistance of local education and law enforcement authorities.
It turned out that the publisher, Shanghai Dongfang Laser Education Culture Co, didn't have the qualifications to be publishing at all. Nevertheless, the firm published a total of 500 issues of the workbook without authorization and sold the books for RMB23 each.
Image via Sohu
As punishment, the firm was fined RMB115,000 (USD17,088) and 324 books containing inappropriate content have been confiscated. In addition, the business license of the firm has been revoked.
The SMIC private school, which purchased and distributed the illegal publications to students, was also punished. The Bureau of Education of Pudong New Area decided to flunk the school's annual examination and reduce its annual enrollment. Meanwhile, it has asked the school board to punish those responsible, including the principal.
Although the matter has been settled, many are still upset over the scandal. "The negative influence caused to the students can never be eliminated," commented one netizen on NetEase.
[Cover image via Pexels]