Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Winnie (not in China)

This reminds me of the political jokes that used to come out of the Soviet Union — published in mimeographed samizdat and smuggled out from behind the Iron Curtain.

Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh
The blocking of Winnie the Pooh might seem like a bizarre move by the Chinese authorities but it is part of a struggle to restrict clever bloggers from getting around their country's censorship…

Winnie the Pooh has joined a line of crazy, funny internet references to China's top leaders.

The Chinese name for and images of the plump, cute cartoon character are being blocked on social media sites here because bloggers have been comparing him to China's president.

When Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe endured one of the more awkward handshakes in history netizens responded with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore shaking hands…

It is not only that China's censors will not tolerate ridicule of the country's leader, they do not want this beloved children's character becoming a kind of online euphemism for the Communist Party's general secretary.

In other countries such comparisons might be thought of as harmless enough and some might even think that having Winnie as your mascot could even be quite endearing: not in China.

Here the president is "Mr Grey." He doesn't do silly things; he has no quirky elements; he makes no mistakes and that is why he is above the population and unable to be questioned…

Winnie the Pooh has actually fallen foul of the authorities here before. This renewed push against online Pooh is because we are now in the run-up to the Communist Party Congress this autumn.

The meeting takes place every five years and, amongst other things, sees the appointment of the new Politburo Standing Committee: the now seven-member group at the top of the Chinese political system.

Xi Jinping will also be using the Congress, which marks the beginning of his second term in office, to further solidify his grip on power by promoting allies and sidelining those seen as a threat…

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