Winnie the Pooh censored in China

Winnie the Pooh 'blacklisted' by Chinese internet censors after web comparisons to President Xi Jinping

Chinese officials gave no official explanation, but observers suggest it might have something to do with past comparisons of President Xi Jinping with the chubby bear created by the English author AA Milne that went viral.

Stickers and GIFs featuring the bear, the most famous resident of Hundred Acre Wood, have also been removed from WeChat - a messaging app used by 889 million people in the country.

Beloved children's cartoon character Winnie the Pooh has been blacked out from social media in China purportedly because netizens there think the Disney character looks like President Xi Jinping.

The FT report said posts with the Chinese name of the portly character were censored on China s Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo.

The ban is the latest activity in the online crackdown before this fall's Communist party congress which will result in key political appointments.

The Chinese government is famously sensitive to internal dissent and, around big political events, it adds new words to its blacklists.

Earlier, some social media users compared the meeting between Chinese premiere and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was pictured as Eeyore, the sad donkey, alongside Pooh bear.

The meme which started on the internet in 2013 after a picture of President Xi with then US Prez, Barack Obama walking side by side was compared to that of the Winnie The Pooh and Tigger, a tiger.

In 2015, a photo of Xi standing through the roof of a parade auto was pictured next to a photo of Winnie the Pooh in a toy vehicle, before it quickly became the most censored image of 2015.

Correction: This story has been edited to reflect the fact that some images of Winne the Pooh are still searchable on Chinese social media.

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