China Bans Winnie the Pooh on Social Media

Winnie the Pooh 'blacklisted' by Chinese internet censors after web comparisons to President Xi Jinping

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

Beloved children's cartoon character Winnie the Pooh has been blacked out from social media in China purportedly because netizens there think the Disney character looks like President Xi Jinping.

No official comments have been made regarding the matter.

Held only once every five years, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will take place this fall.

This time around, event attempts to search for Winnie's name in Chinese characters on Weibo generate a message stating "content is illegal".

It's also claimed that GIFs featuring the Hundred Acre Wood bear have also been removed from WeChat, a messaging service used by 889 million people in the country. 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, told the Financial Times.

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"Historically, two things have been not allowed: political organizing and political action".

Chinese officials gave no official explanation, but observers suggest it might have something to do with past comparisons of President Xi Jinping with the chubby bear created by the English author AA Milne that went viral.

In 2013, a similar ban was imposed in response to a popular comparison of a photo of President Xi and then-US President Barack Obama with Pooh and his friend Tigger.

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.

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

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