China ushers in Year of the Peppa Pig

BEIJING • Oink, oink.

China is set to mark the Year of the Pig with a film starring Peppa Pig, the popular British cartoon character that fell foul of the nation's censors earlier this year.

A government document listing upcoming movies mentions one called Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year that is set to be released in February during the Chinese New Year holiday.

The film includes Chinese New Year customs such as a dragon parade and fireworks, state-run China Daily reported.

Co-developed by Alibaba Pictures and Canadian media company Entertainment One, which currently produces the animated series Peppa Pig, the film includes the entire Peppa Pig cast and two new characters named Dumpling and Glutinous Rice Ball, two popular Chinese New Year food.

The series, introduced in the mid-2000s in China, has become extremely popular through episodes dubbed in Mandarin.

This fervour intensified at the end of last year among a young adult audience. Many Internet users, including stars, sported temporary Peppa Pig tattoos in selfies. Cups, watches and clothes bearing the image of the heroine Peppa appeared .

But a Chinese Internet platform in May gave Peppa Pig the chop when state media lamented that the series had become a "subversive" icon for slackers and anti-social young people.

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

People who upload videos of Peppa Pig tattoos and merchandise and make Peppa-related jokes "run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job", Global Times said after the ban.

"They are unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the (communist) party tries to cultivate."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2018, with the headline 'China ushers in Year of the Peppa Pig'. Print Edition | Subscribe