Peppa Pig censored in China for being gangster icon

A cherubic British cartoon character has become an unlikely target of China's censors as online fans use her porcine likeness in sardonic memes and "gangster" catchphrases.

Peppa Pig, the star of an animated series for preschoolers, has been morphed by Chinese fans into an icon of "gangster" culture and memes rife with dark humour. The pig's second identity may have attracted China's censors, as videos with the hashtag #PeppaPig could not be searched on a popular video app Wednesday.

Regulators have been ratcheting up control over Chinese blogs and apps in recent months. A cybersecurity law was implemented last June as part of President Xi Jinping's efforts to restrict what the public can see and say online while still reaping the economic benefits of internet use.