Winnie the Pooh, the adorable cartoon bear with an obsession for honey, has been censored in China. It’s all apparently due to a meme that makes fun of President Xi Jinping.
Specifically, social media mentions and images of Winnie the Pooh have been blocked in the country, according to The Guardian. Stickers of the yellow bear have also been banned from WeChat’s official sticker gallery.
However, posts with the image of Winnie the Pooh were still permitted on the Weibo social media platform as of Monday. And GIFs were still available.
Authorities have yet to give an official explanation for the sudden crackdown, but it’s most likely because the country’s leader is being compared to not just any bear, but one “of very little brain”.
Internet users reportedly got an error message stating “this content is illegal” every time they typed in comments referencing “Little Bear Winnie”, which is Pooh’s Chinese name.
President Xi has been compared to Pooh since 2013, The Guardian notes, after Chinese social media began sharing a photo of Pooh and Tiger walking along side each other, right next to a photo of Xi walking with President Barack Obama.
In 2014, a picture of Pooh gripping the hoof of his donkey friend Eeyore was compared to a photo of Xi shaking hands with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
Xi was once again compared to Pooh in 2015, when a picture of him standing up through the roof of a parade car was paired with an image of Winnie the Pooh on a toy car. It was “China’s most censored photo” of the year, according to The Guardian.
China is known for its strict internet censorship laws, especially when it comes to memes poking fun at authority. Last year, the Chinese government blocked searches for The Guardian]