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

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6 days ago Eleanor Rose
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(Video provided by Time)

Winnie the Pooh has been censored from Chinese social media after unflattering memes compared the honey-loving bear to the country’s President Xi Jinping.

Ahead of the country’s Communist party congress this autumn, posts featuring the beloved children's book character were censored on the Chinese social network Sina Weibo.

Searches for the “Little Bear Winnie” – as Pooh is called in China – returned the error message “content is illegal”. Meanwhile, animated gifs fearing Pooh vanished from messaging app WeChat.

23_winnie.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited 23_winnie.jpg

No official reason has been given, but the Financial Times cited comparisons between Mr Xi and AA Milne’s fictional bear that have been widely shared online in recent years.

The memes first surfaced in 2013 during Mr Xi’s visit with then-US president Barack Obama, when an image of Winnie the Pooh walking with friend Tigger was set alongside a picture of the two heads of state together.

© Getty

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

It was named “most censored image of 2015” by Global Risk Insights, a political consultancy.

Slideshow: Strangest things banned around the world (GES Photos)

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central news Agency on November 27, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) during a photo session with participants in the national meeting of chiefs of branch social security stations at an undisclosed location in North Korea. AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty Images) Strangest things banned around the world

The Chinese government is famously sensitive to internal dissent and, around big political events, it adds new words to its blacklists.

However the words are usually directly linked to the events themselves.

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