In a new intensification on the infamous Chinese censorship saga, authorities have deleted online comments referring Winnie the Pooh on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. GIFS and stickers on the messaging app, WeChat, which includes the fictional bear, were removed, as well as posts that alluded to the famous children’s cartoon bear. In their stead, officials left messages to users informing them that “This content is illegal”.
It has been a long standing joke in China to compare the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, starting in 2013, when a photo of President Xi and the US-president Obama seemed to draw noticeable similarities to that of a photo of Disneys version of Winnie the Pooh walking beside Tigger. In the latest incident, another photo of the Chinese president along with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pictured as Eeyore the donkey, alongside the bear.
No official explanation was given to observers but many claims that this is another incident related to the censorship of that particular photo back in 2013 when the image was clamped down on for being too ‘politically sensitive’. This appears to be the part of a larger tightening of state control as the crackdown came just prior to China’s 19th party Congress later this year.
The Chinese ruling party has always proven itself to be highly sensitive when it comes to the depiction of its leader, as the list of banned phrases grows in China. The censor’s blacklists just grow longer.