Peppa Pig blocked from China's Douyin video platform

A popular British cartoon has been removed from one of China's most popular social media platforms, with state media saying that the character is being used subversively.

Social media users in the country noticed video clips of the cartoon were being removed on Saturday, and on Monday, state newspaper Global Times said that the #PeppaPig hashtag had been removed from the Douyin video website, while searches for "Peppa Pig" on the site produced no results.

Many papers also note that the platform appears to have added "Peppa Pig" to its list of blacklisted content.

The Peppa Pig cartoon is hugely popular in China, but despite being targeted at a pre-school audience, it has found mass appeal with Chinese adults in recent months.

Its characters have become a common feature in memes, including sexually suggestive content.

"After Peppa Pig started to take on this subversive hue and subsequently go viral, some experts said the popularity of the cartoon demonstrates the social psychology of hunting for novelty and spoofing, which could potentially hamper positive societal morale," Global Times said.

Beijing appears keen to quell subversive enthusiasm for the cartoon by trying to promote friendly domestic pig cartoons instead.

Peppa Pig has been long popular with children in China, and has attracted some 34 billion views on domestic online video platforms.

It was exported to China in the early 2000s, and over 100 translated episodes have aired in the mainland.

It is shown on the children's channel of state broadcaster CCTV, and also hosted on a number of digital platforms, such as the Netflix-like website iQiyi.

In recent weeks, however, mainstream media have noticed a mass appeal of the Peppa Pig cartoon among adults.