TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On Sunday (Feb. 24), just as Chinese netizens were busy working themselves into a lather over a mocking reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping as Winnie-the-Pooh in the Taiwanese horror video game "Devotion," a Reddit user posted this collection of memes comparing Xi to Pooh.
On Sunday, Aron Larsson posted a meme on the China subreddit of the social media platform titled "The life of a chairman," which compared various stages in the rotund Communist leader's day with the chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff. In the photos, Xi and Pooh can both be seen cooking a sweet treat, scarfing down a snack, sipping a piping hot beverage, and taking a well deserved nap after a long, hard day.
Larsson, who currently resides in Europe where he works as a bicycle repairman, told Taiwan News that he created the meme because, "I think it's funny that something so innocuous can be seen as a threat by the Chinese government."
Larsson posted the meme on the same day that Chinese netizens were foaming at the mouth over a Taoist talisman discovered in the new Taiwanese horror video game "Devotion," which read "Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh." Chinese gamers could not bear the sight of their beloved leader compared to the portly Pooh, and swiftly retaliated by review bombing the game with 9,000 thumbs down and calling for a boycott.
The developers of the game apologized twice, but it was removed from the China market that same day. By Tuesday (Feb. 26), the game had been taken offline entirely, but not before selling over 1 million units and being the second-most popular game on the Steam platform in China.
Screenshot of talisman which reads "Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh" from right to left.
The first light-hearted comparison between Xi and Pooh reportedly surfaced in 2013, when Obama met with the Chinese leader, and netizens compared the former to Pooh's lanky friend Tigger. A similar comparison was made with Xi as Pooh and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Eeyore, the sad donkey. An image of Xi riding through the roof of a parade car with a picture of Winnie in a little toy car super imposed on top was named the "most censored image of 2015" by political consultancy Global Risk Insights."
In July of 2017, images of the seemingly cuddly and innocuous bear were blocked on China's Twitter-like platform Weibo, its messaging app WeChat, and even the ancient messaging tool QQ, as the lead-up to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing intensified. Comparisons of Xi with the plump Pooh have since been strictly banned in China.
(Meme by Aron Larsson)