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A baby went viral in China for hanging out upside down (left) and textbooks in China were deemed ugly (right). Photo: SCMP composite

Quirky China: Smiling baby finds himself hanging upside down, maths textbooks are so ugly people demand apology and fire-breathing student sparks lawsuit

  • A viral video showed a baby just hanging upside down after he fell from his cradle
  • A father is suing a school after his son failed during a fire-breathing performance

A video of a baby stuck upside down while hanging out of a cradle cracked people up in mainland China.

In the video, the mother surnamed Yang found her baby hanging from the cradle to prevent himself from rolling over, made even more amusing as the infant was not in any danger.
Laughing, Yang said to the baby: “Don’t cry; let me get my phone to take a video.”

The incident happened on May 24 in Huizhou, a city in Guangdong province in southeastern China.

“I went to clean the milk bottle, so I put him in the cradle,” Yang said. “I only buckled one side of the seat belt because the cleaning would only take two minutes.”

However, when she finished washing the bottle and making the milk, she discovered that the baby was already upside down.

“At that point, he did not cry and just clung to the side of the cradle,” Yang said. “He even smiled at me when he saw me.”

Ugly textbooks

The characters in this maths textbooks were considered scary by many people in China. Photo: Weibo

The illustrations in People’s Education Press’s new maths textbooks for junior school students sparked outrage because people thought they were ugly.

The topic of “People’s Education Press version of mathematics textbooks” became a popular search on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, on May 26. Many people commented online that the character illustrations have “strange eyes” and are “ugly and terrifying.”

“Primary school textbooks will influence children’s aesthetics and should be treated with greater caution,” one person commented.

Some people identified the illustrator, Beijing Wu Yong Design Studio, and asked Wu Yong, the owner, to apologise.

According to images circulated online, the new version of the textbooks were finalised in 2012 or 2013. A set of comparison pictures with previous illustrations in the textbooks was posted by a blogger on May 25, sparking the controversy.

In response to the online criticism of the illustrations, the People’s Education Press announced on May 26 that “it has begun to redraw the cover and some illustrations of the mathematics textbooks”.

Fire breathing fail

The student had to have cosmetic surgery after his fire breathing stunt. Photo: Douyin

A video of a student performing a fire-breathing stunt but burning his face went viral on China’s social media platforms.

The incident occurred in 2021, when the school in Wuhan, Hubei Province, central China, was holding a parent-teacher conference at which students were scheduled to perform.

On May 25, the student’s father, surnamed Xia, turned to the media for help because no one was taking responsibility for the cost of his son’s follow-up cosmetic treatment.

The student’s teacher, surnamed Kuang, said he taught him how to do the fire-breathing and said he did everything he could to cover Xia junior’s mouth and stop the fire from spreading.

“He failed during the rehearsal the day before, so I told him to cancel the show,” Kuang explained. “However, he insisted on performing.”

Following the incident, the father filed a lawsuit against the school, seeking 160,000 yuan (US$23,700) in damages.

“It was his choice to perform, and he was aware of the risks,” Kuang explained.