Win­nie the Pooh doesn’t ex­ist on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Bei­jing, China - China has de­cided to ban any men­tion of Win­nie the Pooh from all of its so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Posts that men­tion the Chi­nese name of the bear were sud­denly cen­sored on Sina Weibo, China’s ver­sion of Twit­ter, over the week­end.

Any at­tempts to post Win­nie’s name on the site re­turns a mes­sage: ‘Con­tent is il­le­gal’.

And a col­lec­tion of Win­nie the Pooh gifs was dra­mat­i­cally erased from the so­cial mes­sag­ing app WeChat.

No of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion has been given, but the crack­down is ap­par­ently re­lated to com­par­isons of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and the chubby fic­tional bear, which ended up go­ing vi­ral.

The bizarre ban comes ahead of the Com­mu­nist party congress in au­tumn.

Qiao Mu, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of me­dia at Bei­jing For­eign Stud­ies Univer­sity, told the FT: ‘His­tor­i­cally two things have not been al­lowed: Po­lit­i­cal or­gan­is­ing and po­lit­i­cal ac­tion’.

‘But this year, a third has been added to the list: Talk­ing about the Pres­i­dent.’

Qiao said he knew of a num­ber of on­line com­men­ta­tors who were de­tained by of­fi­cials af­ter post­ing about the Pres­i­dent, ad­ding: ‘I think the Win­nie is­sue is part of this trend.’

Although cer­tain words are usu­ally banned when big po­lit­i­cal events take place, they tend to be di­rectly re­lated to what’s go­ing on or the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party (CCP), rather than about car­toon bears.

Xi was first com­pared to Win­nie the Pooh in 2013, when Barack Obama vis­ited China. The two world lead­ers walk­ing to­gether were com­pared to a pic­ture of Pooh walk­ing with Tig­ger. The com­par­i­son stuck from then on.

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