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China Blocks Winnie the Pooh, Again

Social media users have compared Xi’s physical appearance to that of Winnie the Pooh for several years.
Social media users have compared Xi’s physical appearance to that of Winnie the Pooh for several years.
China Blocks Winnie the Pooh, Again
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The Chinese Communist Party is moving forward with plans to remove presidential term limits from China’s constitution. Under the proposal, President Xi Jinping could continue leading the country after serving two five-year terms in office.

People in China have criticized the move on social media. Some Chinese have been doing so by posting images of Winnie the Pooh. Pooh bear has appeared in a number of Walt Disney films. He was the best-known character in books by the English writer A.A. Milne.

Social media users have been comparing Xi’s physical appearance to that of Winnie the Pooh for several years. They have often used images of the Disney character to make fun of the Chinese leader.

One image on China’s WeChat this week showed Pooh holding a jar of honey, his favorite treat. Users shared the photo along with the words, “Find the thing you love and stick with it.”

But recently, Chinese social media sites appear to have blocked images of Winnie the Pooh. And other images, words, and expressions that might be used to criticize Xi are also censored.

Blocked terms are said to include “my emperor,” “ascend the throne,” and even “board a plane.” In Chinese, those words sound like “ascend the throne.” The names of several books by British writer George Orwell -- including 1984 and Animal Farm – also are currently blocked.

This is not the first time Pooh has been unwelcome on Chinese social media sites. According to the site WhatsOnWeibo, the Pooh comparisons began with a 2013 photo of Xi with then U.S. President Barack Obama. People on social media noted a likeness between Xi and Pooh, while comparing Obama to Tigger, another animal character.

Posts of side-by-side comparison photos spread quickly on Weibo and other sites. But they were also quickly removed. And Pooh went from a sweet, friendly creature to a political meme in China.

Over the past five years, China has blocked Pooh from time to time. But it remains to be seen how long the honey-loving bear may remain offline this time.

And that’s What’s Trending Today….

I’m Alice Bryant.


Words in This Story

post - v. to add (a message) to an online message board

character - n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show

jar - n. a container that has a wide opening and usually a lid

emperor - n. a man who rules an empire

censor - v. to examine books, movies, letters, etc., in order to remove things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, harmful to society, etc.

ascend - v. to go up : to rise or move toward the sky

throne - n. the special chair for a king, queen, or other powerful person

according - adv. as said by or in

meme - n. an amusing or interesting picture, video, etc., that is spread widely through the Internet