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 its censors earlier this year.
A government document listing upcoming movie projects shows a new film in the works titled “Peppa Pig celebrates Chinese New Year” to be released in February 2019 during the Lunar 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 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 delicacies.
The series, introduced in the mid-2000s in China, has become extremely popular through episodes dubbed into Mandarin.
This fervour intensified at the end of 2017 among a young adult audience. Many internet users including stars sported temporary “Peppa Pig” tattoos in selfies, and cups, watches and clothes appeared bearing the image of the heroine Peppa.
A Chinese internet platform in May gave “Peppa Pig” the chop as state media lamented 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,” state-run 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.”