There has been much reporting of British cartoon character Peppa Pig upsetting the Chinese government and at face value the push to ban the cute little piggy created for the amusement of toddlers would appear over the top until we put hilarity aside and think about what could be the problem the Chinese government has identified and that could be so serious they would risk appearing ridiculous rather than letting the problem grow any further.
The Chinese state media has described Peppa Pig as ‘subversive’ and that Peppa “had become an unexpected cultural icon” for a “subculture” of idle youth, “people who run counter to the mainstream value and are usually poorly educated with no stable job, unruly slackers roaming around, and the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate.” (People’s Daily as reported by Japantimes.)
The important bit in the above statement is ‘young generation the Party tries to cultivate’ and you have to put that in the context of China’s president Xi Jingping’s recently making himself president for life. The political status quo the Chinese government thought was established based on the brutally enforced (remember Tiananmen Square) belief society as organized and controlled by a centralized government is as perfect as a human community can be is showing cracks caused by the mistaken belief people can be kept like pigs in a pen with no desire beyond material security. They fail to recognize that the natural state of any sentient being is freedom, even pigs with their snouts in the troth will run away if you leave the gate open, and any attempt to keep people in servitude to those in power will and always has, failed.
The Chinese government has recognized that any meaning can be attributed to any symbol and that meaning is transferred to whoever acquires that symbol. Dissent will always find a way and the attack on Peppa Pig is as such an act of desperation and an acknowledgement the people and especially the younger generation have withdrawn consent and will use any means possible to achieve freedom and that status of ‘world citizen’ youth in liberal democracies now claim as theirs.
Talking about big government, we here in Australia are far from perfect with the government recently floating a trial balloon to access public reaction to the possibility the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD) be given the right to intercept domestic communications. The DSD’s role is to intercept communications outside of Australia and this proposed expansion of their (legal) ability of surveillance was sort of ‘leaked’ to the media. Oopsie – now lets see what happens. Clearly there is a push towards total surveillance and one that must be resisted if we don’t want the Chinese model to become world standard and that can be by challenging the government’s most often used excuses for the ever expanding laws limiting freedom of speech and communications. Where is the evidence that throwing away rights will result in a safer society? History tells us the exact opposite will more than likely be the outcome.
OK and further to my previous post about homo-erotic subtext in comic strips such as ‘Alix’ and ‘Tintin’ I’ll chuck in this page from a Tintin rip-off – ‘Tintin in Thailand’.
Remember how in ‘Tintin in Tibet’, Tintin finds his friend Chang and rescues him from the Yeti (abominable snow monkey) who was keeping Chang prisoner in a cave for some unknown reason. The Yeti could have had him for breakfast. An explanation was needed and was provided by whoever penned this rather clumsy rip-off in which Tintin travels to Thailand and finds Chang working in a brothel…