Culture&Arts

Chinese censors can't bear Winnie the Pooh

Chinese censors can't bear Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh is arousing the wrath of socialist censors Beijing.

Authorities did not explain the clampdown, but the self-described "bear of very little brain" has been used in the past in a meme comparing him to portly Chinese President Xi Jinping.

One particular image shared at the time showed Winnie The Pooh walking with his bouncing friend Tigger alongside an image of Xi Jinping walking with former US President Barack Obama following a visit at the time.

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Earlier, some social media users compared the meeting between Chinese premiere and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was pictured as Eeyore, the sad donkey, alongside Pooh bear.

It was named "most censored image of 2015" by Global Risk Insights, a political consultancy.

Over the weekend, Chinese censors blocked users of WeChat and Weibo, China's bigger-than-Twitter microblogging platform, from using the name of the most famous resident of the Hundred Acre Wood in the comment section of posts. Apart from flashing error messages, Winnie the Pooh stickers have also been removed from WeChat's official sticker gallery.

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It is a particularly sensitive year as Xi is expected to consolidate power at a key party congress this fall.

Apart from the onset of Pooh Bear comparisons with President Xi in 2013, the jokes continued the following year. A search on Weibo performed by Shanghaiist turned up multiple references made to Winnie the Pooh in recent days, though none having to do with Xi.

"What did this adorable honey-loving bear ever do to provoke anyone?" Yet, the newspaper believes that the move has demonstrated tightening censorship on the eve of the autumn congress of the Communist Party of China, where important changes inside the Chinese leadership are likely to happen.

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