China Bans Winnie the Pooh on Social Media

By M. Grace, July 17, 2017 23:07 PM

Xi Jinping with Obama(Weibo)

Xi Jinping with Abe(Weibo)

Has Winnie the Pooh done something to be worthy of the censorship in China?

According to a report released on Monday, July 17, some Chinese users noticed that the dimwitted cute bear has been blocked on social media.

Authorities reportedly never confess why the self-described bear with little brain has been blocked. But, some previously cited how Winnie the Pooh has been used as a meme and being compared to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to Straits Times, posts with the image and Chinese characters of the cartoon characters are still available on Weibo on Monday, July 17. However, comments referencing to "Little Bear Weini" (Pooh's Chinese name) has turned up with error messages saying the content is illegal.

In addition, Winnie the Pooh's stickers have been removed on messaging app like WeChat; but, the user-generated gifs are still good.

It can be recalled that the Chinese president and the cartoon character were compared in a meme in 2013 after social media users circulated the pictures of Pooh and his friend Tigger beside the photo of Xi Jinping walking with former US President Barack Obama.

Another picture of Winnie the Pooh and his friend, Eeyore the donkey has been compared to a handshake photograph between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Chinese president.

"It's very murky what's allowed and what isn't, because officials never put out statements describing precisely what will be censored," an independent media studies scholar and former professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Qiao Mu said.

He added that Winnie the Pooh was surprisingly unavailable online given the ruling about the Communist Party's sensitivity about depicting its leader.

"In other contexts, references to the staple Chinese breakfast food "baozi" have been taken down for evoking the president's nickname "Steamed Bun Xi", Mu added.

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