INTERNATIONALLY popular British cartoon Peppa Pig has become a symbol of a counterculture of “unruly slackers” in China, with a major video website deleting content relating to the show.
Social media users in China began realising that videos featuring Peppa Pig were being removed from the popular video streaming website Douyin the over the weekend, while searching for the hashtag #PeppaPig produced no results.
According to the state-run Global Times newspaper, Douyin has added Peppa Pig as a banned topic on Douyin along with nudity, men dressing as women, firearms, cult preaching and “other controversial content”.
Peppa Pig has become very popular among Chinese children since first appearing on the nation’s screens in 2015 translated into Mandarin and has gone viral since 2017 with adult netizens sharing memes about the character.
According to the South China Morning Post, it has attracted 34 billion views on various Chinese platforms since 2015, sparking large demand for merchandise like toys, clothes and stickers.
A Global Times feature explained that Peppa Pig has become associated with a subculture known as shehuiren – people who are “usually poorly educated with no stable job” and “are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate.”
It also has a negative impact on children, the Communist Party mouthpiece continued, who have been encouraged to oink and jump into puddles after watching the cartoon.
“All of my classmates draw Peppa Pig on their arms,” an 18-year-old high school student in Beijing told the Global Times.
“Nobody knows why they do this; I do not really care, but I do it as well for fun.”