'Gangster' Peppa Pig propelled to stardom in China

Peppa Pig, the British cartoon star, is coming to China's big screens as part of the year of the pig celebrations.                                                            Once denounced as a "gangster" by Chinese authorities, Peppa Pig has managed to clean up her act just in time for the year of the pig.In a dramatic turnaround for the British children's cartoon once co-opted as an unlikely symbol of dissent against the Communist Party, Beijing will next week allow the release of a film, Peppa's Chinese New Year.A trailer for the film which features a dragon parade, fireworks and two new characters Dumpling and Glutinous Rice Ball has gone viral in China since it was posted online a week ago.
What's Peppa?, a video promoting the movie which has gone viral, follows an elderly Chinese farmer and his determination to procure a "Peppa" as a gift for his grandson. Of course, he has no idea what Peppa is. In the run-up to Chinese New Year on February 5, the country is preparing amid a renewed craze for everything Peppa. Those enamoured of the cartoon include five-year-old twins, Mi-Ai and Mi Ni, who have swept headlines in China after posting a heart-warming viral video saying they were inspired to meet the Queen after watching a Peppa Pig episode in which she makes a royal visit. The video, which has been viewed more than nine million times, led to a surprise invite to the British embassy this week. Dame Barbara Woodward, the British ambassador to China, responded personally in her own video: "Hello Mi Ni and Mi-Ai, I'm the British ambassador, so I'm the Queen's representative in China. I'd like you to come and visit me in my house in Beijing, and we can perhaps have tea and scones in a British style."On Monday, the two girls found themselves with the ambassador, sipping from teacups, munching on finger cakes and colouring in Peppa illustrations. A visit will soon be arranged for the girls and their parents to tour the UK, visiting Peppa Pig studios, a Peppa theme park, and Buckingham Palace. The girls are likely the envy of their peers, many of whom are also obsessed with Peppa, Ms Zhang, their mother, said."Kids are able to relate to the characters because it tells everyday family life." She added: "Peppa Pig helps them to get along with friends and other kids," and added that the show has also helped her daughters to "learn environmentally-friendly concepts, such as recycling."