Peppa Pig blocked from Douyin in China

Is Peppa Pig as politically subversive as Western writers have suggested?

What’s Peppa done to upset the Chinese? (Picture: Nick Jr)

Story topic and angle

During the recent weeks, this British porcine character becomes immensely popular in China. However,owing to the subversives of this rosy-cheeked Peppa Pig, this animated swine has been taken down from a video-sharing app Douyin, which deleted more than 30,000 clips (Gurdian, 2018).Moreover, the hashtag Peppa Pig was also unsearchable. In fact, in 2015 this cartoon was firstly launched in China, which is humorous, lively and accords with core socialist values. Many Chinese parents contend high-quality British cartoons can help boost English language skills among the young. Nonetheless, nowadays, there are numerous Peppa-related merchandises like tattoos, watches and accessories and even reportedly plans to open two Peppa Pig theme park.

Peppa pig, the adult version. Posted to Chinese social media site Weibo.Source:Supplied
A fake tattoo of Peppa Pig posted to Chinese social media site Weibo.Source:Supplied

Up to now, this original seemingly innocuous two-legged pig has been a symbol of teen rebellion, which means that Peppa Pig had been associated with the slang term, shehuiren or society people–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 party tries to cultivate. In fact, it is not the first time a cartoon character was targeted. Last year, the country banned Winnie the Pooh for resembling Present Xi Jinping.

Images of Winnie the Pooh was also previously banned in China because it was used to criticise Xi Jinping.

Therefore, I plan to write a feature story to expound the radical reason accounting for the advent of this popular trend among young generation. My story angle is to narrate personal experience revealing subversive changes of this cartoon character from the perspectives of delivery drivers. They are both participants and composer to make Peppa Pig become an icon of counterculture.

Publication and target user group

The publication I want to choose is Chinese social media and digital media such as Weibo, Wechat and state-run People’s network. This event happened in China, so I center on Chinese people. And it is well known that Internet has been an extremely crucial approach for the audience to absorb information. Furthermore, the pervasive rate of Weibo and Wechat is the highest in China and People’s network as a mouthpiece of authority is credible and authoritative to great extent.

In reality, in Australia the show was also criticized by News Crop columnist Ackerman due to having a “weird feminist agenda”. So ABC News as Australia’s leading source of information is necessary to issue relevant reports about the banning Peppa Pig in China.

With regards to the target audience, the primary intended audience is young generation who launched this campaign on the subversion of Peppa Pig and enjoy revelry. The secondary audience is pre-school children’s parents who complain that their children were addicted to the cartoon show and imitated dangerous behaviours of this gangster pig.

Source

Human: The most interesting thing about this small pink cartoon pig is that consumers tend to ask delivery drivers or restaurant owners to draw a picture of Peppa Pig in the remark column of the receipt when ordering takeaway food. Hence, I will interview some customers and deliver drivers about their personal experience, opinions and attitudes towards this prevalent phenomenon.

Online: I will make use of the function of Google Alerts to tweet customized content related to Peppa Pig to me everyday. As a consequence, I have collected massive online resources including reports, videos and notice issued by Douyin and government, comments on social media and so on that I can refer to.

Online delivery

My feature story will consist of transcripts of my interviewees, some subversive versions of Peppa Pig including images, videos.

Relevant reports will be embedded into my feature story with hyperlinks.

I also attempt to collect Internet users’ views regarding removals of playful pink piglet from  lip-synching app–Douyin by posting questions on Weibo if possible.

Yan Wang
About Yan Wang 4 Articles
student of Sydney University

3 Comments

  1. Hi Yan!
    Your topic is really interesting and newsworthy! It is a really good proposal since it is clearly constructed and well summarized, and this topic is really popular and controversial nowadays in China.
    I notice that you give a background information that Peppa Pig has been banned on Douyin App, however, your research angle is the radical reason of the Peppa Pig trend among the young generation in China. I suggest that it could be more specific about the connection between the reason analysis and this ban policy. Moreover, according to your target publication, I also think it could be interesting if this story is introduced to people in different countries since it is uncertain whether this kind of story could be published on Chinese social media like WeChat. I find that there are also some relevant reports on this topic from different online publications such as Independent and ABC NEWS, which might be helpful and could provide a broader and neutral view.
    BTW, it would be better if a description of the feature image and some tags could be added to the story.
    Overall, I love this topic very much, and look forward to your final work!

  2. Hi Yan!
    The topic is very interesting and I think the report can be further improved.
    You can take foreign media into account as your potential publication as Peppa Pig is popular worldwide and people around the world would be interested on that. Therefore, the target audience can also be expended to global readers. You man consider different angles like the reason behind the ban policy and the response from the public. You can interview some experts in Chinese culture or politics. And you can also interview some ‘shehuiren’ as you mentioned in the proposal because the group in unfamiliar to the public.

  3. Hey Yan,
    I think your topic of the ironical consumption of Peppa Pig is very appealing. I also like your way to collect voices by interviewing users on Weibo which would be a good way to hear from the young generations. Perhaps you can embody it in your news to add more interactivity?

    Your argument is about the radical reason of the popularity of the pig, so I think it is important to clarify what values the government are trying to promote for teenagers, and what ideas the teenagers expressed through consuming the Peppa Pig. Personally, I can’t see the confliction between the mainstream culture and the subculture of Peppa Pig, because in relation to uneducated people and people without stable jobs doesn’t mean that the Pig should be prohibited. Instead, I might ask if teenagers want to encourage joblessness and the gang culture by using Peppa Pig?

    An interesting news I found about the Peppa Pig discussed the “funeral culture” it symbolizes to millennials,https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2018/05/01/peppa-pig-blocked-chinese-video-app-becoming-subculture-icon/
    I hope it could be helpful and I’m looking forward to see your final work : )

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