Editorial & Opinion

China censors Winnie the Pooh, Tigger spoof of Xi Jinping, Obama

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China’s Internet censors have taken exception to an eagle-eyed Chinese blogger noting an uncanny resemblance between the physique and walking strides of Winnie the Pooh and Tiggers, President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama respectively.

The images which emerged following the recent summit in California between President Barack Obama and the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, was posted to the popular Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo. The images paired Winnie the Pooh and Tigger with an image of the Chinese President Xi Jinping walking with US President Barack Obama through the Sunnylands estate.

According to the Daily Mail, the blogger, Nicaragua Rabbit, posted the images to Weibo micro-blogging site on Tuesday.

While some observers have suggested that a comparison between Xi Jinping and the adorable children’s favorite has positive PR campaign potentials, official Chinese sense of humor thought otherwise. Censors objected to the comparison between the Chinese leader and a podgy fictional bear from Sussex’s Ashdown Forest, addicted to honey.

The Daily Mail reports the post was promptly “harmonized,” that is, monitors deleted the images and comments posted to the blog.

The blogger “Nicaragua Rabbit,” posted the censor’s message: “The post is inappropriate to be published.”
The blogger responded: “Little Secretary is stingy and lacks sense of humor.”

But on second thought, when it is recalled that the beloved fictional bear, whose best friend is a piglet, has been described as having “very little brain,” one may understand Chinese censors’ objection to the comparison.

However, in spite of the action, the images went viral, with many criticizing the censors as over-zealous and lacking in sense of humor.

According to the Telegraph, the Communist Party’s Internet censors are known to delete posts to social media sites that appear critical of the government.

Censors reportedly deleted a photoshopped version of the Tienanmen Square photo which shows a protester confronting a column of tanks. In the photoshopped image, the tanks were replaced with giant rubber ducks. The image apparently annoyed the Chinese authorities who had it removed. The post cause so much irritation that all Internet searches related to rubber duck bath toys were blocked.

The Telegraph notes, however, that a recent Harvard study, based on an analysis of millions of Chinese micro-blog posts, found that posts “with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored.” The study concluded that censors’ aim was to control “collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization.”

However, the finding makes it more difficult to understand the reason for censoring what appears a trivial post. Were Winnie the Pooh and Tigger plotting another Tienanmen Square protest?

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