'Siri, show me fragile masculinity'
07 Agosto 2018 12:37
Winnie the Pooh is giving the Chinese government trouble… again.
Yes, you read that right. If you are just tuning into the longstanding riff between the Chinese authoritarian leader and the lovable children’s character with a compulsion for eating honey, then let me break it down for you.
Xi Jinping looks like Winnie the Pooh. Chinese citizens often make lighthearted references and comparisons on social media. The Communist Party of China do not care for it. Like, at all.
Therefore, Chinese censors have banned the release of Christopher Robin, a new film adaptation of AA Milne’s story about Winnie the Pooh, the Hollywood Reporter says. ‘Siri, show me what fragile masculinity looks like.’
The comparisons between the Chinese ruler and Winnie the Pooh all started when Xi visited the US in 2013, and an image of him and Barack Obama walking together prompted numerous memes and images of a chubby Xi walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama.
Then in 2014, Xi was again compared to the literary bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has a striking resemblance to the downbeat, gloomy donkey, Eeyore.
Although unsophisticated in humour, the comparisons spread online like wildfire and censors began erasing any images that mocked their all-powerful leader. The HBO website was even blocked last month after comedian John Oliver repeatedly made reference to Xi’s ‘sensitivity’ to unflattering comparisons of his body shape with that of Winnie.
Another comparison between Xi and Winnie during a military parade in 2015 became that year’s most censored image, according to Global Risk Insights. The firm said the Chinese government viewed the meme as ‘a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself,’ The Guardian reports.
‘Authoritarian regimes are often touchy, yet the backlash is confusing since the government is effectively squashing an potential positive, and organic, public image campaign for Xi,’ the report said at the time. ‘Beijing’s reaction is doubly odd given the fact that Xi has made substantial efforts to create a cult of personality showing him as a benevolent ruler.’