China Has Banned Winnie the Pooh Once Again

Pierre Vaugeois
Juillet 17, 2017

No official explanation was given, but the FT cited observers who said the crackdown may be related to past comparisons of the physical appearance of President Xi Jinping to the fictional bear. Reportedly, images of Winnie the Pooh have been removed from Chinese social media due to his outward resemblance with the Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping.

Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first emerged in 2013, after Chinese social media users began circulating a pair of pictures that placed an image of Pooh and his slender tiger friend "Tigger" beside a photograph of Xi walking with then-US President Barack Obama. AIB in Trouble Again: Top Controversies of All India Bakchod from Snapchat Dog Filter on PM Modi Doppelganger to Infamous Roast.

At the same time, gifs featuring Pooh also disappeared from WeChat, a messaging app in China.

"Authorities have deleted online comments referencing "Little Bear Winnie" - Pooh's Chinese name" - leaving users with error messages telling them: "This content is illegal".

The yellow and red bear who loves jars of honey has apparently been "blacklisted" by internet censors in the country following the memes comparing him to the President.

China's ruling Communist Party is highly sensitive to comical depictions of its leader.

Posts containing the phrase "Winnie-the-Pooh" on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, were culled.

A photo of Xi standing up through the roof of a parade vehicle, next to a picture of Winnie the Pooh in a toy auto, was named the "most censored image of 2015" by political consultancy Global Risk Insights. Despite the cartoon character courting controversies earlier, censorship on such a scale is witnessed only this time around.

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