China's netizens have linked the two leaders to Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger. Photo: Reuters and Weibo
Amy Li
Amy Li

Could Xi-the-Pooh have saved China's declining world image?

Amy Li
China’s deteriorating world image could use some help, even if it comes from Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, said the country’s bloggers.

But unfortunately China's censors have nipped in the bud what could have been a positive PR campaign tailor-made for President Xi Jinping to potentially woo friends and enemies.

The disappointing move came after China’s net users linked two of the world’s most powerful leaders - Xi and US President Barack Obama - as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger this week.

In a Reuters photo, Xi is seen strolling side by side with Obama during their Sunnylands, California, summit at the weekend. Eagle-eyed netizens were reminded of a similar scene involving the two popular fictional characters, and they eagerly shared their discovery on Weibo.

Pictures were later deleted by censors, who apparently did not appreciate the idea of comparing the Chinese president to a chubby bear.

“Was it really necessary to kill cartoons full of positive energy?” Kai-Fu Lee, founder of technology incubator Innovation Works, later protested on his Weibo.

“Look how harmonious and friendly this photo is,” another microblogger wrote. ”Isn’t this what the world wants?”

“Where has [Obama’s] golf club gone?” a reader commented in British newspaper The Sun’s website.