According to SBS News, “British cartoon Peppa Pig has been blocked on a popular Chinese streaming platform after the character developed a ‘gangster’ reputation.”
Apparently, young adults have adopted the children’s character’s rebellious image, using memes, tattoos and collectible watches to draw parallels that might be considered inappropriate to Peppa’s pre-school demographic.
The viral clip below, featuring Peppa’s friend Suzy Sheep, is definitely exhibit A of Peppa’s “Gangster” ways:
This isn’t the first time China’s powers that be tried to shut down a children’s cartoon that was becoming a cult icon among adults. Last year, Winnie the Pooh caught the ire of Chinese censors following viral memes that compared the honey-loving bear to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
RMIT University’s Professor Yu explains to SBS:
“In China’s strict environment, it’s hard to directly criticise anything so they use round-about, joking ways… Peppa Pig is supposed to teach kids about the importance of family which is quite acceptable to the Chinese culture, but the fact that young people have turned it into something associated with a thug or a gangster, that’s totally the opposite of what (Chinese President) Xi Jinping has wanted China to be.”
But Chinese censors can’t stop Peppa’s gangsta reputation from spreading around the globe. According to The Independent, celebrities in Taiwan and South Korea have recently been seen rocking Peppa Pig bags.
The Independent reports:
”China’s media regulators cracking down on what they term vulgarity” in online content. In the past, streaming site Douyin has had censors sweep hundreds of accounts from its site.
Professor Yu says that young people will continue to find alternative ways to express themselves, regardless of what regulators try.
Yu said, “Chinese young people can’t use Peppa Pig as a way to vent their rebelliousness, I’m sure they’ll come up with something else, because people’s creativity is endless.”
China’s government could learn a thing or two from the U.S.’s many failed attempts to censor youth culture.
From NWA to 2 Live Crew to Ice-T, Peppa P is in legendary company if we’re being real.