'Winnie The Pooh' banned in China for illegal memes?

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 17, 2017

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that over the weekend searches for the Chinese name of the lovable and plump bear on Weibo returned only error messages of this "content is illegal", while on WeChat a collection of animated gifs featuring the beloved AA Milne character was removed.

Therefore, all such memes on social networking site Sina Weibo and instant messaging app WeChat were deleted.

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

This is not the first time China has blocked the portly character from the net.

"Historically, two things have been not allowed: political organizing and political action. But this year a third has been added to the list: talking about the president", Qiao Mu, assistant professor of media at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said.

Qiao said people were detained after posting remarks about the president online.

"I think the Winnie issue is part of this trend".

The first light-hearted comparison between Xi and Pooh reportedly first surfaced in 2013 when Obama met with the Chinese leader, and netizens compared the former to Pooh's lanky friend Tigger. It was soon taken down by censors.

In the above picture, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping were shown as the sad donkey "Eeyore" and "Pooh" respectively.

In 2014, a photograph of Mr Xi standing through the roof of a parade vehicle was set alongside Pooh in a toy auto. "An image of Xi riding through the roof of a parade auto with a picture of Winnie in a little toy vehicle super imposed on top was named the "most censored image of 2015" by political consultancy Global Risk Insights".

But this is a crucial period for President Xi Jinping.

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