Cherubic cartoon character Peppa Pig has become an unlikely target of China’s censors as fans use her likeness in rap videos and gangster-style tattoos.
The British character’s subversive alter ego has made her a viral hit but also the target of government workers who police the internet.
Searches with the hashtag #PeppaPig turned up no hits on Wednesday on Douyin, a popular video app.
The catchphrase “Get a tattoo of Peppa Pig, give a round of applause to ‘gangsters'” was also not searchable on Weibo.
The microblogging platform said it was acting “in accordance with relevant legal regulations”.
Professor Steve Tsang, from the School of Oriental and African Studies said Peppa Pig has become "politically incorrect" in China.
He said: "When a lovely character like Peppa is being used by younger people and sometimes not so young people to pursue ideas and articulate ideas that are forbidden in China, then Peppa Pig becomes politically incorrect and she will have to be taken off the screen."
Regulators have been ratcheting up control over Chinese blogs and apps in recent months.
A controversial cybersecurity law was introduced last June as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to tighten control over what China’s public can see and say online, while still trying to reap the economic benefits of internet use.
It was not clear whether the censorship of Peppa Pig on Douyin was prompted by a government mandate.
Chinese media said there had been at least 30,000 clips under Peppa’s hashtag on the app. Variations on the name, such as “PigPig” or “PeppaPeppa”, are still searchable.