Winnie the Pooh is the latest victim of censorship in China

Winnie the Pooh is the latest victim of censorship in China

Images of President Xi Jinping have often been juxtaposed with the bear to show their likeness in images that have gone viral on the internet over the past few years.

The comparisons began in 2013, when Chinese social media users began circulating a picture of Xi walking with President Obama next to a picture of Pooh walking with his taller, more slender friend, Tigger.

The latest Pooh ban appears to be part of a larger tightening of state control in the run up to this fall's Communist Party Congress. Various virtual private networks, or VPNs - which can be used to access prohibited sites - have also been banned.

Officials in China are cracking down on images of Winnie the Pooh proliferating on the internet.

The moral of the story is: be careful about what you share on social media. But this year a third has been added to the list: "talking about the president", Qiao Mu, assistant professor of media at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said.

It was named "most censored image of 2015" by Global Risk Insights, a political consultancy. When users attempted to write the Chinese characters for Winnie the Pooh's name on Weibo, they received a message saying "content is illegal". As did images of Winnie popping his head out of his car - after the president popped his head similarly through the roof of his limousine during an inspection of troops.

The reason behind this surprising action is the fact that the loveable teddy bear has become a symbol representing Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese government is famously sensitive to internal dissent and, around big political events, it adds new words to its blacklists. Who was cartooned as Eeyore, the sad donkey and alongside the bear.