Peppa Pig has been purged

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The porcine princess seems innocuous enough, but for some reason(s), the Chinese government has decided to censor her:

"China bans Peppa Pig to combat 'negative influence' of foreign ideologies" (businessinsider.com)

"Chinese video app targets 'subversive' Peppa Pig in online clean-up" (CNN)

"China gives 'subversive' Peppa Pig the chop" (AFP)

More links here.

Why go after poor Peppa Pig?  How about Hello Kitty?  Micky Mouse?

June Teufel Dreyer remarks:

Chinese cartoonists often depict Xi Jinping as a pig, though certainly never as wearing a dress.   Reminds me of when, a couple of years ago, the official media attacked a large blue Japanese anime figure for the same reason: his bad effect on youth.  Apparently it didn't work:  Doraemon remained popular.  Will Peppa, too, flout efforts to disappear her?

It'll be interesting to see what effect this possible self-censorship has.  My guess is that it'll make more people eager to have Peppa dolls, as a mild form of protest against the party / government.

The subject line above reads like the Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers tongue twister.  You might be able to think of a few more "p" words to add to it…."people", "poison", for example.

In "Peppa Pig, Unlikely Rebel Icon, Faces Purge in China" (NYT [5/1/18]), Amy Qin digs more deeply into the sources of the Chinese government's discontent with the adorable porker:

First they came for Winnie the Pooh. Now it appears China's censors may have their sights on another cuddly cartoon character turned subversive symbol: Peppa Pig.

Over the weekend, over 30,000 videos of the pink-snouted British character abruptly vanished from Douyin, a popular Chinese app that streams short videos, according to the English-language edition of the state-owned Global Times newspaper.

On Tuesday afternoon, searches on the streaming platform for the term "Peppa Pig" yielded no results. The hashtag #PeppaPig also appears to have been banned.

Recently, Chinese state media began to take notice of Peppa Pig's viral fame. There have been numerous incarnations of the cartoon dubbed in Chinese dialects* as well as a craze for everything from Peppa Pig temporary tattoos to candy-dispenser watches and, soon, even theme parks.

—–

*VHM:  The topolect video embedded here is in Chongqing Sichuanese.

Cf. these recent posts, all of which evince the popularity of Sichuanese topolects:

"Anti-MSM sentiment in Sichuan" (3/12/18)

"Chinese pentaglot rap" (12/28/17)

"Yibin, Sichuanese, Cantonese, Mandarin…; topolect, dialect, language" (4/15/18)

Most threatening of all, however, is that Peppa Pig, according to the Global Times, has become an "unexpected cultural icon of shehuiren subculture in China."  On the surface, shèhuì rén 社会人 (lit., "society person") seems rather banal, but to apparatchiks like those who write for the Global Times,

in the online context, it refers to people who run counter to mainstream values, and are usually poorly educated, with no stable job. They are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate.

What would the world be like if it were devoid of such whimsical creatures as Peppa Pig and Winnie the Pooh?  If you want to get a taste of that emerging dystopia, go spend a few years in the People's Republic of China.

"'Disney' Reportedly Now a Banned Word on Chinese Social Media", Laughing Place Disney Newsdesk (2/28/18)

"New Terms Censored on Chinese Social Media Include 'Disney', 'Wheel of History', and 'Personality Cult'"

As technology improves, the Chinese authorities are getting better at banning all the time.  In fact, they're so good at it that they're training their citizens to censor themselves in line with what pleases the government.



12 Comments

  1. Victor Mair said,

    May 2, 2018 @ 11:06 am

    From June Teufel Dreyer:

    "Porcine princess Peppa Pig proscribed as poisonous by paranoid party: popular press " Say it fast….

  2. chris said,

    May 2, 2018 @ 7:52 pm

    @Victor: Or pronounce it precisely and with pep.

  3. Jeremy Daum said,

    May 2, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

    Seems only banned on Duoyin?

  4. Pickering said,

    May 2, 2018 @ 10:23 pm

    Peppa's papa's accent is too posh for the People's Party.

  5. krogerfoot said,

    May 2, 2018 @ 11:55 pm

    Interesting to compare 社会人 with its cognate in Japanese, "shakaijin," which boringly means "member of society/adult [as opposed to 'student']." I'm unaware if the term has any juicier slang meanings in Japanese. Does the Mandarin term have origins in Japanese, like so many other expressions?

  6. Alex said,

    May 3, 2018 @ 2:09 am

    I think it was banned because of the unlicensed manipulation of the characters. I also think they were asked to so because the thuggish and sexual themes of these manipulations were hurting the brand. Disney has in the past sued platforms which allowed such manipulated videos of their characters. I may be wrong though.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201804/19/WS5ad8b199a3105cdcf65195d2.html
    China's Peppa Pig theme parks expected to open by 2019

    Id imagine if I were the owners of the theme parks I'd also sue the platforms if they didnt self regulate.

    As for Duoyin it is filled with crass material.

  7. Mark Metcalf said,

    May 3, 2018 @ 6:21 am

    First they came for Peppa Pig…

    SCMP: After Peppa Pig's ban in China, seven other cartoons censors have blocked

    http://www.scmp.com/culture/film-tv/article/2144561/after-peppa-pigs-ban-china-here-are-eight-other-cartoons-and

  8. steve said,

    May 3, 2018 @ 11:46 am

    Might just be about protecting a local competitor?

    Possibly pretty poor paydirt in a detailed deconstruction of poor Peppa's putative political perspectives, the pernicious porker parallels popular programs like "pleasant goat and big bad wolf".

  9. Pflaumbaum said,

    May 4, 2018 @ 6:20 am

    This is an ironic development… I find that show almost unbearable when my kids are watching it because of how conventional and conformist it is. I guess what constitutes subversion is pretty different for different cultures.

  10. Victor Mair said,

    May 5, 2018 @ 7:18 pm

    From 15:50 to 20:30 chinese cartoon censorship:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WP9k8kHHpg

  11. Victor Mair said,

    May 8, 2018 @ 9:42 am

    From a correspondent in Nanjing:

    I've seen adults dressed in full-length Peppa the Pig costumes outside malls here hawking this or that.

  12. John Rohsenow said,

    May 11, 2018 @ 9:49 pm

    The Guardian 5/07/18 Opinion
    Think it's funny that China is cracking down on Peppa Pig? Think again.
    Phoebe-Jane Boyd
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/07/china-cracking-down-on-peppa-pig

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