The popular and children’s most loved soft spoken, Disney cartoon character, Winnie the Pooh has likely angered China’s censor board to a quite an extent. This lovable “hunny” loving bear has likely been banned by the Chinese authorities on various social media platforms like Sina Weibo and WeChat, reports AFP. Though, posts relating to the Chinese version of this cartoon character were still permitted on Weibo but, comments referencing the bear’s Chinese name, “Little Bear Winnie” turned up in an error stating that “the content is illegal.”
The government has even removed stickers relating to the fictional character from its famous messaging app, WeChat. Though the reason for such a ban has not yet been clarified, the problem may have arisen from the fact that there is a link of the character with none else than Chinese President Xi Jinping! There have been many instances when netizens have compared both and caused controversy to erupt.
Comparisons between this fictional character and President Xi began back in 2013 when a picture of Winnie walking with his best friend Tigger was compared to a picture of Xi walking with former US President Barack Obama. In 2014, the comparison was extended and a new meme was created. A picture of Xi’s meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was compared to a picture of Winnie along with his sad donkey friend, Eeyore. In 2015, this joke went a notch higher when a photo of Xi, standing up through the roof of a parade car, was compared to a picture of Winnie the Pooh sitting in his toy car. This image was later named the most “censored image” of 2015.
PTI quoted Chinese scholar and former professor at Beijing Studies University, Qiao Mu as saying that the ban was unsurprising given the Communist Party’s sensitivity towards the comparison of their leader, Xi Jinping, to a mere cartoon character. In the past, references relating to the Chinese food, Baozi, had also been taken down for evoking President Xi’s nickname, “Steamed Bun Xi.”