Peppa Pig to celebrate Chinese New Year with special film

  • New characters include Dumpling and Glutinous Rice Ball, both popular Chinese New Year delicacies
  • The British cartoon character that fell foul with Chinese censors last year
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2019, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2019, 6:32pm

China will mark the Year of the Pig with a film starring Peppa Pig, the much-loved British cartoon character that fell foul with Chinese censors last year.

Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year will hit Chinese screens on February 5, the first day of Chinese New Year and the first day of the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Pig. The film is co-produced by Canadian media company Entertainment One (eOne) and Alibaba Pictures (part of the Alibaba Group, which owns the South China Morning Post).

What does China have against Peppa Pig?

It is the first animated cartoon in China to feature live shooting with a cast including household names such as Zhu Yawen and Liu Yun. It will include Chinese New Year traditions like dragon dancing and dumpling wrapping.

Two new characters added to the special film include Dumpling and Glutinous Rice Ball – both popular Chinese New Year delicacies.

“The Peppa Pig series emphasises the importance of family values, and that is something that will deeply resonate with Chinese audiences,” says Wei Zhang, president of Alibaba Pictures, adding the project is a vital opportunity to promote cultural exchange between China and the West.

President of eOne, Olivier Dumont, says the pig has a huge fan base in China after a TV series was launched there in 2015.

But Peppa Pig, based on the Peppa Pig television series created by Astley Baker Davies, has not always been so welcome in China.

Chinese censors are clamping down on foreign TV shows, videos

Last year, the series made headlines when Peppa Pig was banned from an online video channel in China after being linked to “gangster” behaviour.

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

The censorship came after the pig’s likeness became popular with a subculture of internet users known as shehuiren or “society people”. Censors claim the group held “anti-establishment views.”