On my list of inoffensive fictional characters (I have it up on my fridge, for easy access), Winnie the Pooh is firmly present. Has he ever done anything that could be deemed as problematic? Does he have a mean bone in his body? Is he anything other than ‘just a bear’? A honey-loving, sweet-as-pie bear who wouldn’t hurt a fly?
Yes, he is named after a shit, but apart from that, what’s the big deal?
Well, China has determined that he is, in fact, very offensive, and has banned him. Poor old Winnie the Shit, put on the naughty list. But why?
Well, it has explicitly to do with this:
Yep, Chinese social media users were basically comparing Winnie to their president, Xi Jinping. This hasn’t been taken in the best light by those up high, and so the use of the bear's image has been swiftly prohibited. Something similar happened back in 2005, when an image of the president and our mate Winnie became the most censored image of the year. Want to see it?
I know. Terrifying.
Thing is, the government in China is extremely keen, almost too keen, on not having its leader undermined – so comparing him to a greedy bear who eats honey with his hands and is named after a turd is probably not the way they want the public to be going. P.S. can someone tell Pooh to stop eating honey with his hands, it’s rank, mate. Nobody does that.
So yeah, they’ve banned him – nearly all verbal and visual references to the bear will be removed from social media from now on. Only in China, of course – if you’re sitting over here in the UK, desperate to tweet that hilarious Winnie The Pooh joke you’ve been bottling up all day, go ahead, knock yourself out.