Winnie the Pooh reportedly just got blacklisted by China

Andrew Cummings
July 17, 2017

Chinese censors have identified a new threat to national security: a fictional bear with a penchant for "hunny". Weibo is China's bigger-than-Twitter microblogging platform.

Winnie the Pooh stickers have also been removed from WeChat's official "sticker gallery", but user-generated GIFs of the bear are still available on the popular messaging app.

According to the Financial Times reports, despite no official word coming from the Chinese Government, the censors began cleansing the memes from the internet.

In 2013 a similar ban was sparked when Mr Xi met Barack Obama.

While authorities have not explained the recent clampdown, observers believe the long-standing joke could be the reason for Winnie the Pooh being blocked once again in China.

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

Qiao said people were detained after posting remarks about the president online.

A meme of the pair walking went viral when it was compared with an image of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. It was soon taken down by censors. In 2014, a photograph of President Xi shaking hands with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was compared with an image of Pooh Bear shaking the hoof of his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore.

In 2014, a photograph of Mr Xi standing through the roof of a parade vehicle was set alongside Pooh in a toy auto.

And in 2015, the political analysis portal Global Risk Insights called a picture of Xi standing up through the roof of a parade auto paired with an image of a Winnie the Pooh toy vehicle "China's most censored photo" of the year. A similar picture of Winnie the Pooh in a toy vehicle soon surfaced online drawing another comparison of the Chinese leader to the cartoon character.

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