The Brief: After Chinese President Xi was compared to Winnie The Pooh, the cartoon character was banned in China, causing anti-Chinese government and pro-Hong Kong protestor Winnie The Pooh memes to go viral internationally.
The Chinese Government banned images, films, and the Chinese name for Winnie The Pooh online and in movie theaters after bloggers compared the plump crop-top-wearing character to Chinese President Xi Jinping. China Winnie The Pooh memes ridicule Xi, and the Chinese government’s ban of a beloved children’s storybook figure.
Although Pooh is a delightful cartoon bear, comparisons between him and Xi are generally mocking and undermining Xi’s status as an authority figure. These memes started as a reference to how Xi shares some physical characteristics with Pooh, but ultimately became a broader symbol of resistance to the Chinese government.
Since Pooh was banned, people in countries other than China have doubled down on spreading Winnie The Pooh memes to troll the Chinese government and express opposition to such censorship.
Winnie The Pooh been used as both a symbol of Hong Kong protesters and of Xi himself. In some cases, Pooh is portrayed as a figure of revolution, while in others he represents Xi, a symbol of opposition to Hong Kong protestors.
In the episode of South Park “Band In China,” Winnie The Pooh and Piglet were incarcerated in a Chinese prison before (spoiler alert) being murdered by Randy Marsh so that he can bring his cannabis business to China. Since the airing of this episode, which caused the entire show to be banned in China, Winnie The Pooh memes have had a resurgence online, especially on Reddit.
A take on the Fancy Winnie The Pooh format:
— Peet (@pdobi) October 8, 2019