Chinese censors target Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

By AFP
Published: July 17, 2017
SHARES
Email
Comparisons between Pooh and Chinese President Xi Jinping first emerged in 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Comparisons between Pooh and Chinese President Xi Jinping first emerged in 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: Has Winnie the Pooh done something to anger China’s censors? Some mentions of the lovable but dimwitted bear with a weakness for “hunny” 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 the past in a meme comparing him to portly Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Posts bearing the image and the Chinese characters for Winnie the Pooh were still permitted on the Twitter-like Weibo platform Monday.

But comments referencing “Little Bear Winnie” — Pooh’s Chinese name — turned up error messages saying the user could not proceed because “this content is illegal.”

VPN users in China megacity Chongqing face fines

Winnie the Pooh stickers have also been removed from WeChat’s official “sticker gallery,” but user-generated gifs of the bear are still available on the popular messaging app.

Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first emerged in 2013, after Chinese social media users began circulating a pair of pictures that placed an image of Pooh and his slender tiger friend “Tigger” beside a photograph of Xi walking with then-US President Barack Obama.

In 2014, a photographed handshake between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was matched with an image of Pooh gripping the hoof of his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore.

China warns against cyber ‘battlefield’ in internet strategy

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

The 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.

On Monday many Chinese social media users were testing the boundaries of the restrictions imposed on the bear who groans “oh, bother” when things don’t go his way.

“Poor Little Winnie,” one Weibo user wrote.

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Technology