The nature of politics in mainland China is a mystery to most Americans, and the recent, absurd controversy in the highest levels of Chinese government are ensuring things stay that way. In a move to surprise even the most cynical consumers of political news the image of the beloved cartoon bear Winnie-the-Pooh has been banned in China for bearing too strong a resemblance to the Chinese President Xi Jinping (https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/18/15993136/winnie-the-pooh-china-ban-censorship-xi-jinping-lol).
My opinions on President Xi Jinping’s ability to deal with criticism aside, it’s hard to say that this even qualifies as criticism to begin with. I, for one, was compared to Winnie-the-Pooh during a speech given at my wedding and I took it as a very genuine compliment. One questions the rationality of a man often criticized for his totalitarian views balking at a comparison to a creature so universally-beloved and morally pure. Another amusing idiosyncrasy of this whole debacle is that President Xi Jinping could hardly say Winnie-the-Pooh was designed to mock him as A. A. Milne’s stuffed creation entered the world by his current name in 1926, a whole 27 years prior to the birth now-President Xi Jinping (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnie-the-Pooh and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi_Jinping, respectively).
Therefore, unless we’re seriously willing to entertain the notion that A. A. Milne is a time-travelling cartoonist whose blood-thirsty political satire wouldn’t be appreciated (or even relevant) until nearly 100 years after it’s publication, the idea that Winnie-the-Pooh is intended as a slight against the current leader of the Communist Party of China is about a rational (though dryly amusing) as the idea of President Xi Jinping getting stuck in the entrance of his honey-tree-shaped burrow.