Peppa Pig Banned on Chinese Social Media App
British cartoon Peppa Pig has been banned from the Chinese social media site Douyin because it has become associated with a slacker mentality in the younger Chinese generation.
The cartoon entered the Chinese market in 2015, and became popular with children before being adopted by young adults as an icon of “shehuiren” in 2017. This word literally translates as “society person,” but has a different meaning online, where it refers to a person who holds values that go against the mainstream, has a poor education, and has no stable job. Chinese censors have recently been critical of hip-hop and videogames, and with teenagers drawing Peppa on their arms, buying stick-on tattoos, and editing clips of the show to feature gangster rap, the character has been interpreted as another way to go against socialist values and traditional Chinese culture.
Last week, the People’s Daily, a state-run newspaper, ran an editorial which speculated that the way young people constantly chase fads and the selling of unlicensed Peppa Pig merchandise would negatively affect the younger Chinese population.
“These are elements that are not conducive to the healthy development of cultural industries and we must be vigilant,” wrote the People’s Daily editorial. “After all, no matter how gangster Peppa Pig is, it cannot be allowed to destroy children’s youth and go beyond the rules and the bottom line.”
The character previously appeared in 30,000 videos on the app, but those who searched for “Peppa Pig” on the app on Tuesday came up empty handed. It also seems that the hashtag #PeppaPig was banned.
As a way around the ban, Douyin users are posting videos with the hashtags #piggypiggy and #peppapeppa.
Douyin has not released a statement on the banning, and as of Tuesday, episodes of the show could still be viewed on streaming services Youku and iQiyi.
Peppa is not the first children’s cartoon to be censored in China. Images of Winnie the Pooh were blocked in 2013 after comments were made that the bear had a similar appearance to President Xi Jinping.
The makers of Peppa Pig could suffer greatly from this news, because two theme parks, in Beijing and Shanghai, are being built around the character. The parks are still scheduled to open in 2019, which is ironically the Year of the Pig.