Peppa Pig, a British cartoon favorite, has been banned by China’s top video platfors Douyin. It appears that the website became wary of the growing popularity of the cartoon, especially, among young Chinese adults, which resulted in this ban. Nevertheless, many were surprised with the ban, as Peppa Pig has become quite famous in China, certainly among kids, with around 30,000 videos of the cartoon uploaded on this particular platform alone.
Peppa Pig has joined the list of banned content on Douyin and shares this infamous space with videos displaying nudity, cross-dressing men, firearms and weapons, cults, and other contentious material as per the Chinese government. Furthermore, the video site has also banned the #PeppaPig from circulating on their platform.
Peppa Pig was first introduced to the Chinese audience in 2015. However, it has been highlighted only recently because of the interest Chinese youth have shown in the cartoon. Their “fascination” to the cartoon has been associated with shehuiren culture, or a group of young adults that is seen as anti-establishment.
With regard to the Chinese young adults, this Peppa Pig subculture has many putting up their photos online with a temporary tattoo of the pig along with some merchandise. The idea is to use something novel and create memes or spoofs to make it viral. As a result, it could create a lot of negativity that could impact the good effect and influence of social media. Since the cartoon in question is catered to a young audience, it is important to pay attention to how the cartoon is being depicted in an adult discourse too. It is essential to ensure that such interpretations of the cartoon do not influence the children to misbehave or assume adult behavior.
Some even suggest that Peppa is used as a symbol of rebellion and, as a result, has been given the title of a gangster. Going along with the gangster theme, many are uploading their Peppa Pig tattoo photos, mostly the temporary ones, to show their connection to the gangster “community” of sorts. This kind of behavior is not appreciated by the Chinese, which may be another reason why Douyin decided to remove the cartoon from its channel. According to Steve Tsang, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies: “When a lovely character like Peppa is being used by younger people and sometimes not so young people to pursue ideas and articulate ideas that are forbidden in China, then Peppa Pig becomes politically incorrect and she will have to be taken off the screen.”
The Chinese government is always on the lookout for such behavior and has even introduced a law that gives it more control over what the Chinese people can view and communicate online. Labeling Peppa as a gangster and also associating the cartoon and its character to gang-like activity is drawing a negative light to the show. Earlier, the government even banned Winnie the Pooh, as many were comparing President Xi Jinping to the bear online. With regard to Peppa Pig, things were starting to turn a bit dark as the videos and memes started to include violent and/or sexual connotations.
At the end of the day, Chinese kids don’t have to bid adieu to pig cartoon characters. Chinese media platforms are now promoting Dudu Pig, a state-approved cartoon, as the new and improved alternative for Peppa Pig to entertain Chinese children.