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isten in English

Pooh banned in China

Published: 7.22.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 2:27
Accent: British
Source: BBC Global News Podcast (7.17.2017)

The famous cartoon bear, Winnie the Pooh, has been banned in China. But why?


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • a century [n] - 100 years
  • Winnie the Pooh [n] - a fictional bear character [image]
  • Pooh Bear [n] - Winnie the Pooh
  • Tigger [n] - a fictional tiger character [image]
  • fallen foul [exp] - get into trouble
  • censors [n] - people who examine and remove unacceptable ideas from media (books, TV, movies, the Internet)
  • Xi Jingping [p] - the president of the China
  • Barak Obama [p] - the former president of the U.S.
  • dumby [adj] - chubby / a little fat
  • censor [v] - officially remove or delete something that is not acceptable
  • a run-up [n] - the time before an event
  • a congress [n] - a meeting
  • cut all references to [exp] - remove all mentions of
  • poking fun at [exp] - making fun of / teasing
  • social harmony [exp] - everyone works together and repsects each other
  • sense of humor [exp] - the ability to appreciate a joke
  • paranoia [n] - extreme fear

[n] - noun,  [p] - person,  [v] - verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. How does the author describe Winnie the Pooh?
    not smart
    not kind
    not thin

  2. When was Winnie the Pooh created?
    about 50 years ago
    about 100 years ago
    about 150 years ago

  3. What has happened to Pooh in China?
    The character has been censored.
    The books have been recently translated to Chinese.
    The character is being made into a Chinese movie.

  4. When was the picture of Barak Obama and Xi Jinping taken?
    last month
    a few years ago
    in 2017

  5. Where was the picture of Barak Obama and Xi Jinping taken?
    the U.S.

  6. How does the woman describe Obama?

  7. How does the woman describe Xi Jinping?

  8. Who does Xi Jinping look like?
    Winnie the Pooh

  9. Who does Obama look like?
    Winnie the Pooh

  10. What is happening later this year?
    a party congress
    a cartoon festival
    an election

  11. The woman says that this incident shows...
    the creativity of Chinese people.
    the cruelty of Chinese people.
    the humor of Chinese people.

  12. Who used to talk about "social harmony" a lot?
    Xi Jinping
    Hu Jintao
    Barak Obama

  13. What does "harmonized" mean?
    loving cartoons
    going to jail

  14. Who is the man mentioned in question 12?
    the current president of China
    a previous president of China
    the Chinese ambassador to the U.S.

  15. The woman also says that this incident shows...
    the power of Chinese leaders.
    the extreme fear of Chinese leaders.
    the humor of Chinese leaders.

triangle Script

He's a bear of little brain but a big heart. Winnie the Pooh is one of the best loved fictional characters in children's literature in English. He was created almost a century ago by A.A. Miln. Here's an extract from the opening paragraph of the book.

Here is Edward Bear now, coming downstairs on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin.

It's the only way he knows of coming downstairs. But sometimes he feels that there really is another way if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.

Well now it appears that Poo-Bear has fallen foul of China's censors. But why? A question for Michael Bristowe, our Asia-Pacific editor.

It seems an unusual story doesn't it. Why would Chinese censors be interested in such a cartoon character? It's because a few years ago when Xi Jinping, the leader of China, met Barack Obama in California. There was a picture of the two of them strolling across the lawn. President Obama was very tall and straight, and Xi Jinping although he's not a short person, he looked a lot shorter. He looks a little bit dumpy, and people instantly noticed there was a comparison between that photograph and one of Winnie the Pooh and his friend Tigger walking across a lawn together. Since then, jokes about Xi Jinping and his comparison to Winnie the Pooh have continued, and they've been censored previously. But now in the run up to a party congress later on this year when Chinese Leaders get very sensitive about Xi Jinping’s image, it seems the sensors have decided to cut all references to Winnie the Pooh again.

It seems strange that this western children's character should have come to their attention at all, and it's not the only time that he's come into trouble with the Chinese authorities.

I think it shows a couple of things. First of course is a sense of humor that Chinese people show. Often I come on here and I talk about China – either its human rights or the economy or something, but there's a great deal of humor in poking fun at Chinese leaders which goes back decades and decades. Often they have to be quite careful. There was a previous president, Hu Jintao, who was always talking about social harmony. So whenever a dissident would be arrested or put in jail, people would talk about that person being harmonized. And so there’s a great sense of humor. And also it shows a great paranoia of Chinese leaders that in the run up to a great political event they just don't want to take any chances by poking fun at the president.

That was Michael Berstein.

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