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