China bans Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh 'blacklisted' by Chinese internet censors after web comparisons to President Xi Jinping

Winnie the Pooh 'blacklisted' by Chinese internet censors after web comparisons to President Xi Jinping

(Web Desk) - Chinese social media has banned any mention of fictional character Winnie the Pooh, The Financial Times reported.

Stickers and GIFs featuring the bear, the most famous resident of Hundred Acre Wood, have also been removed from WeChat - a messaging app used by 889 million people in the country.

The posts comparing President Xi with the cartoon bear is taken down apart from blocking users of WeChat and Weibo, which is China's bigger-than-Twitter microblogging platform from using the name of the affable bear. 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.

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The following year a photographed handshake between President Xi and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced similar treatment.

And in 2015, the political analysis portal Global Risk Insights called a picture of Xi standing up through the roof of a parade vehicle paired with an image of a Winnie the Pooh toy auto "China's most censored photo" of the year.

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.

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On Monday many Chinese social media users were testing the boundaries of the restrictions imposed on the bear who groans "oh, bother" when things don't go his way. 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.

Winnie-the-Pooh, the adorable teddy bear, created by English author AA Milne has fallen out of love from the internet in China.

The latest Pooh ban appears to be part of a larger tightening of state control in the run up to this fall's Communist Party Congress.

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