Oh, bother: Winnie the Pooh is latest victim of Chinese censorship
Reports suggest a ban on Winnie the Pooh in China was triggered by online posts comparing the cartoon bear to President Xi Jinping.
BEIJING — A chubby and seemingly harmless fictional bear in an undersized red shirt who eats too much “hunny” is the latest victim of censorship in China.
Although no official explanation has been offered, it is speculated that posts comparing cartoon bear Winnie the Pooh to Chinese president Xi Jinping triggered the ban, the Independent reported.
Winnie the Pooh and Xi go way back. In 2013, the meme that started it all compared an image of Pooh and his boingy pal Tigger to a photo of Xi and President Barack Obama.
In 2014, another meme likened an awkward handshake between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to an image of Pooh and his gloomy friend Eeyore.
In 2015, a picture of Xi in a parade car next to a picture of Pooh in his toy car, reached next level status, becoming the most censored image in China that year.
With the latest crackdown, gifs and images of Winnie the Pooh have been removed from WeChat’s official gallery, according to Vox.
Using Winnie the Pooh’s name is also banned on Weibo, China’s popular social network, and when typed in the comments section, gets the warning “content is illegal” according to the Financial Times.
The ban may be an effort to bolster Xi’s image before the Communist Party’s National Congress, a meeting held every five years in which the elite make important decisions on party leadership.
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