Winnie the Pooh has been 'blacklisted' by internet censors in China after memes comparing the self-confessed "bear of very little brain" to the President circulated online again.
Authorities have deleted online posts likening "Little Bear Winnie" (Pooh's Chinese name) to President Xi Jinping (which is a longstanding joke in China) leaving social media users with error messages telling them: "This content is illegal."
GIFs and stickers featuring Pooh – the most famous resident of Hundred Acre Wood – have also been removed from WeChat, a messaging app used by 889 million people in the country.
Various virtual private networks (VPNs), which can be used to access prohibited sites, have been banned too.
Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first emerged in 2013, after pictures of Pooh and Tigger alongside a photograph of Xi walking with Barack Obama, the US president at the time, surfaced online.
The following year a photographed handshake between President Xi and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was likened to Pooh and his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore.
The ruling Communist Party is highly sensitive to mocking depictions of its leader and the crackdown comes in the run up to China's 19th Communist Party Congress.
But today (July 17), many Chinese social media users are already mocking country's censorship and restrictions imposed, with one Weibo user writing: "Poor little Winnie.
"What did this adorable honey-loving bear ever do to provoke anyone?"
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