Peppa Pig uncensored — for now

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Last year, poor Peppa was banned from the airwaves, online video channels, and movie theaters in China after she fell afoul of the censors for allegedly associating with gangsta characters.

"Peppa Pig has been purged" (5/2/18)

Now she's been rehabilitated, and just in time:

"Peppa Pig to celebrate Chinese New Year with special film", Kylie Knott, SCMP (1/12/19)

New characters include Dumpling and Glutinous Rice Ball, both popular Chinese New Year delicacies

The British cartoon character that fell foul with Chinese censors last year

The final three paragraphs of the article:

Last year, the series made headlines when Peppa Pig was banned from an online video channel in China after being linked to “gangster” behaviour.

At least 30,000 clips of the cartoon were removed from the popular video-sharing platform, Douyin, while the #PeppaPig hashtag was banned from the site.

The censorship came after the pig’s likeness became popular with a subculture of internet users known as shehuiren or “society people”. Censors claim the group held “anti-establishment views.”

It's those terrible shèhuì rén 社会人 (lit., "society persons"), too many of whom adore Peppa, who have also put her in jeopardy with the authorities.  It's rather difficult to understand just what is wrong with shèhuì rén 社会人 (lit., "society persons"), other than that the CCP dislikes them, and it's hard to translate the expression into English too, as is evident from all the quandaries  on the internet (see here and here).

Peppa, oh Peppa!  Be more of a Party person and less of a society person, and then everything will be just fine with the Party, though you will no longer be very interesting and attractive to most people in society, just another boring porker.

[H.t. Mark Metcalf]


  1. Philip Taylor said,

    January 20, 2019 @ 5:03 am

    Intrigued, Victor, by your use of "gangsta" where the original has "gangster". To the best of my belief, whilst we (unfortunately) still have gangsters in the U.K., I don't believe we have any "gangstas" — what are the latter, and how do they differ from gangsters ?

  2. Bathrobe said,

    January 20, 2019 @ 5:36 am

    Philip, you are so British!

    I don't know much about 'gangstas' either, but 1) the spelling gangsta is fairly obviously a reference to black slang in the U.S. and b) it appears to be related to things like 'gangsta rap' ('a type of rap music featuring aggressive macho lyrics, often with reference to gang violence') and inner city gangs in the United States.

    Presumably the spelling 'gangsta' is related to the lack of postvocalic r in varieties of black slang in the U.S. For people in Britain and many Commonwealth countries, this is a normal feature of everyday speech and we wouldn't think of spelling it that way, but the U.S. has its own peculiar cultural references, and spelling words without a postvocalic r relates to black English (or Ebonics, or whatever you want to call it), not 'the Queen's English'.

  3. astrange said,

    January 20, 2019 @ 6:11 am

    In Japanese 社会人 (shakaijin) means "respectable members of society", i.e., men with full time jobs. (Anyone else is not a respectable member of society.)

    But from this article I gather it means something like internet meme enthusiasts in China?

  4. Trogluddite said,

    January 20, 2019 @ 8:28 am

    @Bathrobe; Philip Taylor
    I'm familiar with "gangsta" from the British media; primarily from journalism about popular music, and the debate about whether the violent and/or misogynistic imagery common to some genres encourages delinquency. My reading of it is that it also carries the connotation "people who are *affecting* behaviours which fit popular stereotypes about gangsters", as opposed to those who really are gangsters in the original sense. I'd guess that the Chinese term under discussion probably has a similar connotation, and that it may also have been intended by the OP.

  5. reader_not_academe said,

    January 21, 2019 @ 12:36 pm

    Radii China published a text three days ago about the movie's trailer, or rather, a short movie unto itself, directed by the same Zhang Dapeng who created the Chinese movie.

    According to this tweet, the short film has since been watched over a billion times…

  6. reader_not_academe said,

    January 21, 2019 @ 12:39 pm

    The Weibo link from the Radii China article no longer seems to work. Here's the trailer on Youtube.


    [Below this line are updates by VHM]

    Peppa Liberation Army

    Plaudits for PLA’s Hong Kong garrison on the march with Peppa Pig in Lunar New Year video that ends with a giggle

    The video has been watched 4.5 million times so far

    Mainland to mark Year of the Pig with a film starring Peppa to be released this month, despite an earlier backlash against character

    Tony Cheung SCMP

    PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2019, 6:40pm
    UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2019, 6:47pm

    Watch the video.

    PLA HK Garrison releases cheeky video featuring Peppa Pig

    Shen Ke Shine (from Shanghai Daily)
    14:40 UTC+8, 2019-02-03

    Video here too.

    Lunar New Year puts seal on Peppa Pig’s Chinese comeback

    When even filmmakers and the army are getting in on the act, there’s no doubt that the popular cartoon character is the face of the Year of the Pig

    Laurie Chen SCMP

    PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2019, 7:43pm
    UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2019, 9:12pm

    With viral 5-minute video trailer for "What is Peppa?"

    Peppa Pig, Branded a Subversive by China, Gets Rehabilitated

    The Year of the Pig and a movie rescued the porcine cartoon from knock-off gangster versions

    Trefor Moss, WSJ (2/5/19)

    No halal please: meet China’s pig vigilantes

    Vocal vigilante groups angered by what they see as creeping Islamisation in Chinese society
    The fight to ‘take back’ the Year of the Pig is the newest battle in an escalating confrontation between the vigilantes and ‘religious extremists’

    Phoebe Zhang SCMP

    PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2019, 4:02am
    UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2019, 8:26am

  7. Keith said,

    January 23, 2019 @ 7:39 am

    Whenever I see the word written as "gangsta", I think of the Hotstepper ( and Coolio (

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