Barack Obama Britain’s most famous cuddly bear has become too politically sensitive to be mentioned on Chinese social media.
Whilst it is still possible to display images of ‘Winnie the Pooh’, any comments on social network Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter or the WeChat messenger have been blocked with an error message warning that “this content is illegal”.
The censorship is due to comparisons between President Xi Jinping and the bear, which began in 2013 when pictures of Winnie and his friend Tigger were superimposed on images of Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama.
The following year, the mocking continued with a picture of the Chinese President and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, compared to a picture of Winnie squeezing the hoof of Eeyore, the cartoon donkey.
In 2015, the image of Xi Jinping inspecting Chinese troops was compared to Winnie standing in a convertible. The image became “the most censored picture of the year in China,” according to the political analysis portal Global Risk Insights.
But with the Chinese Communist Party’s Five-Year Congress approaching and President Xi Jinping expected to win a new term as head of the country, the Beijing censors are being very vigilant when it comes to protecting the image of the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.