The popular children's cartoon show Peppa Pig may face a ban from all Chinese web services after becoming a favourite of 'subversive' elements in society.
Since being introduced to China in 2015, the cartoon character has become an icon of the so-called 'shehuiren' society. The word 'shehuiren' directly translates as 'society person' but it also refers to unemployed people with little education, according to China's nationalist newspaper The Global Times. In other words, people whom the government does not like, trust or understand.
People have found that mentions of the #PeppaPig hashtag on Chinese video-sharing media app Douyin, are now being deleted by the censors on video sharing site Douyin.
Peppa Pig seems to have been added to the list of prohibited content on Douyin, which includes cross dressing, religious cults, nudity and firearms.
In 2017, Chinese media reported that parents were concerned their children were becoming 'addicted' to Peppa Pig, noting symptoms that included oinking and jumping into puddles.
Meanwhile, among the shehuiren youth Peppa Pig has become a craze, with children drawing Peppa Pigs on their arms. Even amongst young adults the craze seems to be thriving.
"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."
Peppa Pig-related content began to disappear from the social network on Monday 30th April.
However, Peppa Pig isn't the only cartoon animal to have been banned by Chinese censors.
Earlier this year Winnie the Pooh suffered the same fate. Unflattering comparisons made on social media between China's leader Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh saw the unfortunate cartoon creature being sent to China's Room 101.
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