Chinese censors have banned the release of Christopher Robin, a new film adaptation of AA Milne’s beloved story about Winnie the Pooh, according to Reuters.
The honey-loving cartoon bear was cast out of the mainland last year because Chinese internet users compared the adorable bear to Chinese president Xi Jinping in several memes on Weibo, China's Twitter-esque platform.
The Winnie the Pooh character has become a lighthearted way for people across China to mock their president, Xi Jinping, but it seems the government doesn’t find the joke very funny.
It started when Xi visited the US in 2013, and an image of Xi and then president Barack Obama walking together spurred comparisons to Winnie – a portly Xi – walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama.
Xi was again compared to the fictional bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who took on the part of the pessimistic, gloomy donkey, Eeyore.
Another comparison between Xi and Winnie during a military parade in 2015 became that year’s most censored image, according to Global Risk Insights. The firm said the Chinese government viewed the meme as “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”.
Some more examples:
China has previously banned any mentions or images or even emojis of the big yellow bear on the Chinese internet, and people were warned that they'll be arrested and even sent to jail for posting Pooh's image online or even in comments.
Apparently even the most inoffensive, mild satire of China's ruling Communist party and its appointed dictator for life is not allowed in China, the world's largest totalitarian country.