Winnie the Pooh was banned during a recent visit by the Chinese president to Spain over fears he might cause offence because the two are often described as looking similar.
The children’s character, in reality a street performer who makes his money posing for tourists on the busy Madrid plaza where the Chinese leader was given the keys to the city, was told to leave by cops.
Local media said the move was because President Xi Jinping has become somewhat sensitive to Winnie the Pooh after it was pointed out he looks just like A. A. Milne’s beloved bear.
The comparison began after a visit to the White House when Jinping was pictured walking alongside then-president Barack Obama.
Netizens shared unflattering memes of the Chinese president as Winnie the Pooh while Obama was depicted as Tigger.
To his dismay, the trend continued when the president returned to China.
However, online posts featuring Winnie the Pooh were reportedly censored on the Chinese social network Sina Weibo while animated gifs fearing the bear vanished from messaging app WeChat.
The recent Disney movie ‘Christopher Robin’ was also banned in the communist country.
President Jinping was in the Spanish capital this week as part of a state visit and a known Winnie the Pooh impersonator in costume was told to clear off from the Puerta del Sol public square.
He was told that it could be “offensive” to the Chinese president, who was visiting the area to receive the Golden Key of the City of Madrid from Mayor Manuela Carmena.
The Winnie the Pooh impersonator told local media: “I was told to walk away so that he (President Jinping) would not see me. I did not have an issue with it, and it was only for 20 or 30 minutes.”