This week the beloved character of Winnie-the-Pooh, the anthropomorphic bear created by author A. A. Milne, seems to have irritated censors in China. Users of China’s popular messaging app WeChat and other social media discovered over the weekend that images and mentions of the bear had been scrubbed from the internet. Albums of gif images containing Pooh, and friends Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore were all removed from the app’s “sticker” site. No official explanation has been given for the removal, though a popular meme comparing President Xi Jinping to the bear may be the culprit. Images of Xi Jinping meeting with former U.S. President Barrack Obama in 2013 had likened the pair to Winnie and Tigger, while another, of a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014, portrayed Abe as Eeyore, the sad donkey. This comes at a time of heightened Chinese censorship over news regarding the recent death of noted Chinese human rights activist and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo.
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