China’s crackdown on Winnie the Pooh images has made its way to Spain, with police telling a street performer in Pooh costume to stay out of sight of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s motorcade as it passed Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square during a state visit on 28 November 2018, reported El Diario.
Winnie the Pooh has been used to parody the Chinese president and become a symbol of the resistance in China. It all started with a 2013 meme of Xi and former US President Barack Obama walking together, alongside an image of Pooh and Tigger walking together. The Chinese government has been blocking images of AA Milne’s beloved bear character ever since.
— Financial Times (@FT) July 16, 2017
The Madrid street performer told El Diario that police “told me to move a few meters away so he could not see me”.
“If it’s an offence, I understand that they ask me to leave,” the man said.
Xi made a two-day state visit to Madird on 27 November, during which he received golden keys to the city. His motorcade passed Puerta del Sol—a bustling square with street performers vying to take photos with tourists—on its way to Madrid’s town hall building.
The man dressed as Winnie the Pooh told El Diario police asked him to stay away so the Chinese president wouldn’t see him, in case the costume caused offence. Other people in different costumes weren’t asked to move on.