Few countries in the world are as meticulous with their censorship as China. Their firewall is one of the most restrictive in the world and they have a tendency to shoot down media that speaks ill of their government, from Guns & Roses to Command & Conquer. The country's censorship board is even more serious when it comes to movies, with a maximum of 34 foreign films allowed to screen in the country every year.
You'll probably be unsurprised to hear that the People's Republic has kept its fair share of animated things off of screens across the country. I never thought I'd live in a world where Peppa Pig was being banned from televisions in earnest, but China did just that. What could Peppa have hiding up her sleeve? Or the Minions? Or L from Death Note, for that matter? China had their reasons, and I went digging to find out what those reasons were.
Peppa Pig is (supposedly) fun for the whole family, but an outside source has soured China on the beloved children's series. According to The Independent, China had #PeppaPig removed from video service Douyin search engine after "shehurien" - or "society people" - began creating "vulgar" memes with Peppa's likeness. Some are even getting tattoos on their faces.
So because of people who allegedly "run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job," families can't be entertained by what Peppa and her sister found out in the forest this afternoon?
Scooby-Doo seems like a fairly innocuous show on the surface, which makes China's reason for banning it even more interesting. The show was squeezed off of the airwaves in 2008 due to the country's attempt to prop up domestic animation. Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang aren't even the only foreign cartoon characters to be hit; they share table space with The Flintstones, Spongebob, Pokemon, and Bugs Bunny.
Sometimes, all you need in life is some stuffed animals and a little honey. Pooh Bear and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood were banned in China on similar grounds as Peppa Pig. A group of people had started making memes comparing Pooh Bear to then-Chinese president Xi Jinping. Some people will do just about anything for a pot of honey.
Anime's foothold in cultures around the world continues to grow stronger, but China won't be one of them for a while. Back in 2015, the Chinese government outright banned 38 different anime from being shown in the country for including "scenes of violence, pornography, terrorism, and crimes against public morality." The list includes shows like Attack on Titan, Death Note, Psycho-Pass, and many others.
Back in 2017, Netflix was attempting to gain a foothold in the Chinese market and they figured that the wildly popular dramedy Bojack Horseman would help to further seal the deal. Unfortunately, the Chinese censorship board didn't agree, and the show was abruptly removed from the country's iQiyi streaming service two days after it dropped.
Horseman's potent mix of comedy and drama involving anthropomorphic horses and dogs had already built up a decent cult following in China based off of trailers, leaks, and hype. But considering how strict China's decency standards are, it was only a matter of time before it got taken down.