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China's most dangerous bear is Winnie the Pooh.
Do you see a resemblance?
Welcome back to China Uncensored, I'm Chris Chappell.
China bans a lot of things like... a lot.
Facebook.
Falun Gong.
Even, for a time, the letter N.
Yeah, that would make the Chinese version of Sesame Street a little awkward.
But that's what happens when you live under an authoritarian regime with absolutely no freedom of speech.
So is everyone's favorite honey bear banned, too?
Sort of, sometimes.
It's complicated.
It began back in 2013 when Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with US President Barack Obama.
Chinese internet users noticed a more-than passing resemblance.
The next year, Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and this image got passed around.
And thus a meme was born.
Now it may surprise you, but communist leaders don't always have the best sense of humor, which is why Xi Jinping definitely didn't think this was funny.
And so Chinese censors began to remove comparisons of Winnie the Pooh and Xi Jinping from the Chinese Internet.
And they can actually do that, because China has its own internet.
China's technological overlords built what's referred to as "The Great Firewall."
It separates China's Internet from the rest of the world.
This is not to say that Winnie the Pooh is outright banned.
But Winnie the Pooh is sometimes censored or not, depending on how he's used, and depending on the political situation.
For example, in 2015, this became the most censored image on the Chinese Internet.
In early 2018, Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared himself president for life.
And Chinese netizens started posting this.
That was also censored.
In some ways, it's hard to understand why Xi Jinping wouldn't want to be compared to a loveable cartoon bear.
It definitely could be worse.
Former leader Jiang Zemin has been compared to a toad and the Minions from Despicable Me.
Maybe Xi doesn't like being compared to Pooh bear because it triggers some deep insecurity he has.
Like a traumatic childhood memory of being sent to the countryside to do forced labor without any honey.
Or a reoccurring nightmare where he's giving a big speech, and he looks down and he's not wearing any pants.
But it doesn't matter why Xi Jinping doesn't like Winnie the Pooh.
As leader of the un-free world, he has the power to censor those Winnie the Pooh comparisons.
And every time Chinese censors block Winnie the Pooh, it makes headlines outside China.
I mean, what a story, right?
China: The country that banned Winnie the Pooh.
Except it's not always true.
Like this story that claimed that Winnie the Pooh was about to be removed from Shanghai's Disneyland.
But then definitely wasn't.
And this story that movie theaters in China were forbidden from showing the movie Christopher Robin, because one of the characters is Winnie the Pooh.
But it could have also been blocked because China has a quota of foreign movies it lets in each year, and Christopher Robin simply didn't make the cut.
After all, you can still watch Winnie the Pooh cartoons on state-run China Central Television.
I mean, how else will the kids learn about Winnie the Pooh Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
So in summary: Winnie the Pooh, not banned in China.
Comparing Winnie the Pooh to Chinese leader Xi Jinping?
Definitely banned in China.
Like in early 2019, when a Taiwanese horror video game called Devotion had this little easter egg.
It says: "Xi Jinping Winnie-the-Pooh moron."
That got the game banned in China.
And then amazingly, Steam banned the game internationally, fearing a Chinese backlash.
Sadly, that would not be the last time Western companies decided to censor something so as not to hurt Xi Jinping's sensitive feelings.
But the damage is already done.
The more Chinese censors ban the comparison, the more Winnie the Pooh is linked in people's minds with Xi Jinping.
Remember when Blizzard created a huge backlash after banning a gamer for supporting Hong Kong protests?
Well, when Blizzcon rolled around in November, people showed up in Winnie the Pooh costumes.
That had nothing to do with Hong Kong, but it was a great way to troll Xi Jinping and Blizzard.
And in the South Park episode, Band in China, that came out in October, they showed Winnie the Pooh in Chinese prison.
And then South Park joined Pooh in being banned by Chinese censors.
But now, with the Hong Kong protests heating up even more, and anger at Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, there's been a new addition to the Hundred Acre Wood.
Poor Piglet.
So what do you think about China's Winnie the Pooh sort-of ban?
Leave your comments below.
Thanks for watching this episode of China Uncensored.
Once again, I'm Chris Chappell, see you next time.
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Is Winnie the Pooh Really Banned in China? | China Explained

3948 Folder Collection
Annie Huang published on March 9, 2020    Annie Huang translated    adam reviewed
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