Oh, bother! The Chinese government has censored internet mentions of Winnie-the-Pooh due to viral memes comparing the beloved animated character to President Xi Jinping.
According to the New York Times, users on Weibo, a site similar to Twitter, are able to write posts and upload images that relate to the bear, but could not comment on existing posts that included the term “Winnie the Pooh.” Time adds that many existing posts featuring the comparative images were taken down from Weibo and WeChat.
Social media users first compared the likeness between Xi and the character in 2013, noting that an image of Xi and Barack Obama walking side by side had a resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh walking beside Tigger. Censors were once again put into action in 2014, when social media users compared an awkward handshake between Xi and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe to Pooh shaking hands with a very uncomfortable looking Eeyore.
— Alfredo Medellín (@AlfredoMedelln) June 16, 2013
— Nancy 韵 (@NancyYunTang) November 10, 2014
According to the NYT, one of the most consistently censored items on Chinese social media sites in 2015 was of Winnie-the-Pooh in a toy truck, which was compared to one of Xi in a black limousine at a parade.
The censorship comes ahead of a conference held by China’s ruling party later this year, at which Xi is expected to regain power.
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