Representatives from video sharing app Douyin says Douyin is not banning Peppa Pig, according to National Business Daily and China National Radio.
A form allegedly from Douyin Community Regulations circulating on the internet lists British children's TV animation character Peppa Pig as a "banned element", along with "banned songs", "pornographic and vulgar behaviours", "illegal or regulation-violating behaviors" and "discomforting behaviors".
A Douyin user then posted a message from the Douyin app, which said that a video posted on April 21 containing Peppa Pig was banned from playing, for it "violates the community regulations and has not passed censorship".
On May 2, National Business Daily released a report, saying that a Douyin insider denied there is a ban on Peppa Pig and the alleged Community Regulations form is false.
According to the insider, "Douyin has made community regulations according to relevant law and regulations, hoping that everybody will maintain and follow the benign community regulations. However, the specific regulations could not be disclosed."
A China National Radio report on May 5 also said that the app has not banned Peppa Pig.
The negative implications of Peppa Pig come from its association with "Shehuiren", literally meaning "society people", a buzzword on Chinese social media for riffraff or hooligans. The association is strengthened by the viral meme saying "tattooed with pig Peppa, claps for society fella".
The expression was first used in a derogatory context, teasing the group of lowbrows on video shar-ing apps, including Kuaishou and Douyin, for showing their tattoos and dance moves as a symbol of rebellion and gangsterism.
Later, with celebrities wearing fashion items inspired by Peppa Pig, an increasing number of people started wearing items or tattoo stickers themed on Peppa Pig and calling themselves society people in a self-deprecating way.
Though the number of videos including Peppa Pig is drastically reduced, Douyin search results on May 7 showed that "society people" is more likely to have been banned instead of Peppa Pig. The app provides 2,169 results for the hashtag Xiaozhu Peiqi (Peppa Pig) and zero result for the hashtag Shehuiren (society people).
"Peppa Pig as a cartoon does not have any problem in its content", He Tianping, the executive edi-tor-in-chief of Review magazine by the State Administration of Radio and Television, said. "The values, family values and emotions it conveys are all positive."
The banning incident is centered around the derivative videos of Peppa Pig, which echoes with the administration document in March on regulating online programs. That says it is prohibited to re-edit, re-dub or re-subtitle classics, radio and video programs and online original video programs without permission.