Popular children’s cartoon character Peppa Pighas been blocked from an online video channel in China after becoming associated with a “gangster" subculture.
The search term #PeppaPig was removed from video app Douyin, making as many as 30,000 videos of the playful pink piglet unreachable, according to reports in Chinese media.
The censorship came after Peppa’s likeness became popular with a subculture of internet users known as “shehuiren” or “society people – a group who some say hold “anti-establishment views" and “gangster" attitudes.
Users have reportedly been using the character in subversive memes, spoof videos or in the context of ‘vulgar’ or lewd jokes.
The Global Times explained said “society people" who have embraced Peppa as their unlikely symbol, are those “who run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job."
“They are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the (ruling Communist) Party tries to cultivate.”
The piglet, who is usually seen playing with friends in the mud or taking part in other wholesome adventures in the original British show, is presented in a different context entirely in the memes.
One example features a scene where Peppa says: “I like this. It’s very grown-up,” at the start of a lewd rap song.