Chinese censors have identified a new threat to national security: a fictional bear with a penchant for "hunny".
The FT report said posts with the Chinese name of the portly character were censored on China s Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo. Meanwhile, animated gifs fearing Pooh vanished from messaging app WeChat. To many, an image of the Xi walking beside U.S. President Barack Obama bore a resemblance to an image of Winne the Pooh walking beside Tigger.
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. In 2015, according to Global Risk Insights, an image of President Xi standing up through a auto roof during a parade and a children's toy vehicle was the most censored image of the year, prompting the Chinese government to add "Winnie the Pooh" to its internet search blacklist.
The ruling Communist Party is highly sensitive to mocking depictions of its leader.
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It will be particularly eagle-eyed in the coming months as President Xi attempts to consolidate power ahead of an important twice-a-decade party conference.
Apart from the onset of Pooh Bear comparisons with President Xi in 2013, the jokes continued the following year.
Chinese social media users have been testing the boundaries imposed on the lovable creation of AA Milne. A search on Weibo performed by Shanghaiist turned up multiple references made to Winnie the Pooh in recent days, though none having to do with Xi.
Honey-loving resident of the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh, has apparently run afoul of Chinese censors yet again.
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