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17 July 2017, 01:55 | Myron Mathis
Image caption What happens when you try to reference Winnie the Pooh on Weibo
No explanation for the ban has been given by officials, but the bear has been compared to Chinese President Xi Jinping in the past and the crackdown comes in the run up to China's 19th Communist Party Congress.
Posts bearing the image and the Chinese characters for Winnie the Pooh were still permitted on the Twitter-like Weibo platform Monday. Apart from flashing error messages, Winnie the Pooh stickers have also been removed from WeChat's official sticker gallery.
Earlier, some social media users compared the meeting between Chinese premiere and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was pictured as Eeyore, the sad donkey, alongside Pooh bear.
The memes first surfaced in 2013 during Mr Xi's visit with then-US president Barack Obama, when an image of Winnie the Pooh walking with friend Tigger was set alongside a picture of the two heads of state together. In 2015, according to Global Risk Insights, an image of President Xi standing up through a auto roof during a parade and a children's toy vehicle was the most censored image of the year, prompting the Chinese government to add "Winnie the Pooh" to its internet search blacklist.
It will be particularly eagle-eyed in the coming months as President Xi attempts to consolidate power ahead of an important twice-a-decade party conference.
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