Peppa the Pig’s street cred just skyrocketed. The Chinese government has banned all images of her from social media for being too “gangster.” More than 30,00 videos of the character have been removed from a popular Chinese video sharing platform called Douyin. Now, how exactly could a talking British pig staring in her own children’s cartoon be deemed “gangster” in the slightest? It looks like young adults throughout the country started getting tattoos of the pig, and that just set the government off. A meme that read “get your Peppa Pig tat, shout out to your frat” recently went viral on social media, and that was the last straw.
Apparently Peppa is often associated with “society people” which is a Chinese slang term for dubious individuals, whose values often “run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job”, a Chinese tabloid called The Global Times said. “They are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the [Communist] party tries to cultivate.”
China is very very careful about how much western influence they allow to seep into their country. The government originally allowed Peppa the Pig to come on Chinese television in 2015 because they believed that the show promoted family values, but once footage of people getting tattoos of her started surfacing the government felt they had to crack down. Beyond the tattoo’s memes about Peppa the pig are popular in China and often take a dark or overtly sexual tone. So as one can imagine, they’re a no go in China, a country that has gone as far as to ban pornorgraphy.
Still, Peppa the Pig has vexed the Chinese government in the past as well. Books featuring the cartoon pig were part of a huge attempt by the Chinese government to aggressively reduce the number of foreign titles in their children’s book catalog last year. Regardless of the government’s efforts when it comes to children’s books, many publishers, like Peppa’s tattoo enthusiasts are still looking for ways to release popular western titles without running afoul of the government.