No Pooh For You!… China Bans Lovable Bear

Georgia Reed
July 19, 2017

The world-beloved honey-loving teddy bear has been almost banished from China's cyberspace, and the reason for doing so is equally weird. He's been axed from social media in China for resembling the China president Mr. Jingping and also being too politically sensitive.

It's hard to resist the charms of the chubby, confused bear Winnie the Pooh. The resemblance was too uncanny to ignore. Typing the bear's name in the comments section of a thread leads to the message: "This content is illegal". Animated GIFs and illustrations of the bear have also been taken down from the official gallery of the messaging app WeChat, though user-generated images still exist.

Clearly the comparisons are light-hearted, but with Beijing's particular brand of cultural control, irony, teasing and playfulness can be seen to serve subversion and can be repressed. Winnie does not reflect Communist Party values. In China, however, the loveable bear has been banned - without an official explanation. Pooh our yellow bear is just the latest victim in China political content.

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In other contexts, references to the staple Chinese breakfast food "baozi" have been taken down for evoking the president's nickname: "Steamed Bun Xi", Qiao said. In the picture, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and his wife each held a Pooh mug.

Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first emerged in 2013, after Chinese social media users began circulating a pair of pictures that placed an image of Pooh and his slender tiger friend "Tigger" beside a photograph of Xi walking with then-US President Barack Obama.

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