Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Manila for a two-day state visit, his first trip under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and his second time in the country after he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in 2015.
But instead of welcoming banners and warm greetings, Filipinos ‘welcome’ Xi using Winnie The Pooh photos all over social media and you’re probably wondering why.
Filipinos flooded social media with Winnie The Pooh content as a form of protest amidst the Chinese president’s arrival in the country. Some even dubbed November 20 as the “National Winnie The Pooh Day” while others changed their profile pictures online with an image of Pooh.
Thanks for the visit Little Bear Winnie. I have time to finally fix how I look on Twitter. (Pahiram muna ng appropriately morbid hopefully temporary Pooh pic https://t.co/x2eaEIpUml)
— Raquel Fortun (@Doc4Dead) November 20, 2018
— Bob Ong (@sibobpo) November 20, 2018
Winnie the Pooh loves honey
Duterte loves honeylet
— paulo (@phaux_04) November 20, 2018
Today’s quote from Winnie the Pooh, everyone’s favorite Pooh bear. pic.twitter.com/r0NeoPAlxv
— Abi Valte (@Abi_Valte) November 20, 2018
Twitter feed when President Winnie the Pooh arrived in the Philippines. pic.twitter.com/otwex6BucJ
— Ishinama Sa Hoe Kai (@ishinamalenin) November 20, 2018
Happy Winnie the Pooh Day! We alsu wunt our uwn yummy hunny too.
– God'sPrincess1010011010 x ShallotNgLipunan pic.twitter.com/YjUIp3V59O
— UPLB MemeSoc (@UPLB_Memesoc) November 20, 2018
— PCortes (@pingcortes) November 20, 2018
Apparently, among the many things that are banned in China, Winnie The Pooh is one of them. The beloved A. A. Milne character has been used by people across China to poke fun of their president, but jokes on them because the Chinese government didn’t find it single bit funny and decided to declare a ban on Pooh.
It started when in his 2013 US visit, a photo of Xi along with former US president Barrack Obama was compared to an image of Winnie The Pooh and Tigger walking.
In 2014, Xi was compared again to Pooh with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, as Eeyore.
Now, we have this.
The memes and comparisons led to the Chinese government censoring Pooh-related content online and banning even mentions of the fictional bear. The movie adaptation of the popular children’s story “Christopher Robbin” was denied theatrical release most likely due to the ban or because China only allows 34 foreign films to be released in cinemas each year.
Xi’s presence in the country pushed some Filipinos to use Winnie The Pooh, where the fictional character is now considered “everyone’s favorite Pooh bear,” to voice their stand regarding the longstanding maritime dispute between China and the Philippines. Despite the ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague favoring the Philippines’ claims over the West Philippines Sea, China refused to recognize the court’s decision.
Filipinos could only hope that his visit would clarify the issues surrounding both countries and not mean a step towards making Philippines a “province of China.” Because if that’s the case, then Pooh———!