Over the weekend, Chinese censors blocked users of WeChat and Weibo, China's bigger-than-Twitter microblogging platform, from using the name of the most famous resident of the Hundred Acre Wood in the comment section of posts. In 2014, a photograph of President Xi shaking hands with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was compared with an image of Pooh Bear shaking the hoof of his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore.
Comparisons between Xi and Disney-owned Winnie the Pooh first circulated in 2013 during the Chinese leader s visit with then U.S. President Barack Obama. A collection of animated gifs featuring the bear were also removed from social messaging app WeChat, according to the FT. In 2015 a picture of AA Milne's creation in a roofless auto was widely circulated and compared to one of Mr Xi riding in a vehicle while inspecting troops during a parade in Beijing.
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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.
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.
Winnie-the-Pooh, the adorable teddy bear, created by English author AA Milne has fallen out of love from the internet in China. Yet, the newspaper believes that the move has demonstrated tightening censorship on the eve of the autumn congress of the Communist Party of China, where important changes inside the Chinese leadership are likely to happen.
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