Pooh bear falls foul of Chi­nese cen­sors

The Guardian Weekly - - Diversions - Agence France-Presse

Has Win­nie the Pooh done some­thing to anger China’s cen­sors?

Some men­tions of AA Milne’s lov­able but slow-wit­ted bear with a weak­ness for honey have been blocked on Chi­nese so­cial net­works.

Author­i­ties did not ex­plain the clam­p­down, but the self-de­scribed “bear of very lit­tle brain” has been used in past memes com­par­ing him to the Chi­nese pres­i­dent, Xi Jin­ping.

Posts bear­ing the im­age and the Chi­nese char­ac­ters for Win­nie the Pooh were still per­mit­ted on the Weibo so­cial me­dia plat­form. But com­ments ref­er­enc­ing “Lit­tle Bear Win­nie” – Pooh’s Chi­nese name – turned up er­rorr mes­sages say­ing the user could not pro­ceed be­cause “this con­tent iss il­le­gal”.

Com­par­isonss be­tween Xi and Pooh first st emerged in 2013, 3, af­ter Chi­nese so­cial me­dia users be­gan cir­cu­latcu­lat­ing pic­tures of Pooh and his slen­derr friend Tig­ger be­side a pho­to­graph of Xi walk­ingk­ing with Barack Obama, then the US pres­i­dent.

In 2014, a pho­ho­to­graph of Xi shak­ing hands with the Ja­pane­seese prime min­is­ter, , Shinzo Abe, wasas matched with an im­age of Pooh grip­ping the hoof of his don­key friend Eey­ore.

In 2015, the po­lit­i­cal anal­y­sis por­tal Global Risk In­sights said a pic­ture of Xi stand­ing up through the roof of a pa­rade car paired with an im­age of a Win­nie the Pooh toy car was “China’s most cen­sored photo” of the year.

China’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist party is highly sen­si­tive to com­i­cal depic­tions of its leader, par­tic­u­larly as Xi at­tempts to con­sol­i­date power ahead of a key party congress later this year.

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