Peppa Pig, a television cartoon show. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn）
Chinese music video platform Tik Tok, also known as Dou Yin in Chinese, has denied a rumor that it blocked Peppa Pig elements and related hashtags, according to National Business Daily on Wednesday.
Over the past week, a Tik Tok community rule has been widely circulated, in which Peppa Pig is listed among banned elements, along with nudity, cross-dressing, cult preaching and presentation of firearms. The rule's caption says that it will be continuously updated and asks that users "please follow the rule."
However, National Business Daily quoted an unnamed staff member of Tik Tok as saying, "The circulating rule is fake and we've never ever blocked Peppa Pig."
Entering China in 2015, Peppa Pig immediately gained popularity among children and even among adults. According to statistics by the Daily, the piglet has 470.4 million views on major Chinese video streaming websites, including Youku, Tencent Video and Iqiyi. The pig has become a symbol of a subculture in China called "Shehuiren," literally a "society person," which denotes a group of young people running counter to mainstream values or slackers without decent jobs.
Some netizens even made all-round analyses based on the character's family and academic background, as well as attitudes toward life on Zhihu, the Chinese version of Quora, and concluded that Peppa is leading a rich, materialistic life.
"Peppa was born into a rich family. She lives in a detached house with a backyard and her mother can speak French fluently and play the violin perfectly. This is a symbol of the rich. And Peppa is studying in a VIP kindergarten because there are only a few children in one class," wrote Zhihu user Sweetheart Rock Salad.
Having a Peppa Pig spin-off has obviously become a must to people who understand the cartoon from an adult's perspective and are eager to become a Shehuiren. However, the subversive hue has raised public concern as it is being indiscriminately circulated.
"If subcultural thoughts and behaviors get out of control to the extreme, they could damage society," Jiang Haisheng, chief of the Journalism and Communication Department at the Shandong University of Political Science and Law, said to Global Times. However, "Young people's behavior contains a spirit of innovation, which promotes the development of society," he added.
Some people think the cartoon is good in theory but has been distorted by certain groups.
"Peppa Pig is a good cartoon series. No darkness, no violence and it's full of warmth," @Xuyufeng_380 commented on China's Twitter-like platform, Sina Weibo.
"Peppa Pig was good but it has been spoofed and right now the spoofing culture is the mainstream. I'm in a bad mood," @Xingelantuboshu said, criticizing the people who distorted the cartoon.
The hashtags containing "Peppa Pig" are still visible in the Tik Tok app but few users are seen joining the topics.