'Winnie The Pooh' has been blacklisted by the Chinese government

Image Flickr | David Greenwald

Image Flickr | David Greenwald

The "Financial Times" reports the popular children's story character is now blacked out of Chinese social media in the run-up to next fall's Chinese Communist Party Congress. The international newspaper cites observers who say the crackdown might be over previous comparisons of President Xi Jinping and the cartoon bear.

While there has yet to be any official reason behind the Pooh purge, many believe that memes may be the cause. The other portrayed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Eeyore as he shakes hands with President Xi, again compared to Pooh. However, comments referencing to "Little Bear Weini" (Pooh's Chinese name) has turned up with error messages saying the content is illegal.

"I think the Winnie issue is part of this trend", Qiao notes.

Photos began circulating on social media in 2013 that showed Winnie the Pooh walking with Tigger alongside photos of President Xi walking with President Obama.

Winnie the Pooh is great, and being mentioned together with him in the same breath is a high honor fit for the top line of one's résumé, not a galling insult that merits state-ordered censorship.

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The FT report said posts with the Chinese name of the portly character were censored on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo. The official stickers of the character in WeChat have also been removed.

This comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping was previously compared to Winnie the Pooh in 2015. Right after the parade, a picture of just Pooh in his toy car was shared more than 65,000 times on Weibo before it was taken down, reported the BBC.

When online users commented on the eerie similarities, China increased its online censorship and took down such posts.

"Poor little Winnie. What did this adorable honey-loving bear ever do to provoke anyone?" one Weibo user wrote, according to Sky.