The President of China, Xi Jinping, is on a visit to India where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an informal summit at Mamallapuram. China, at the moment, is embroiled in a trade war against the USA and they managed to enrage the USA further during the NBA controversy.
China is a country that is fanatical in its desire to be taken seriously. Its antics borders on unhinged behaviour sometimes as they are already taken seriously by everyone in the international arena and everyone is pretty scared of ticking them the wrong way. However, their insistence on not being mocked or ridiculed sometimes ends up making them look utterly ridiculous.
For instance, there was the time when Winnie the Pooh, a popular cartoon character, was banned in China after Xi Jinping was compared to the teddy bear. In all fairness, President Xi does bear some uncanny resemblance to the cartoon character. Apparently, it all began during Xi’s visit to the US in 2013 when a picture of him and then US President Barack Obama drew comparisons with Pooh and Tigger.
Then, in 2014, during Xi’s meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, another image started doing the rounds where Xi was compared to Pooh and Abe was portrayed as the pessimistic donkey, Eeyore.
It didn’t stop there. Soon, in another meme, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam became a piglet beside Pooh PingPing.
As these memes became popular, Chinese censors started banning them on the internet. Even HBO was banned in China after comedian John Oliver mocked the Chinese regime’s sensitivity to the cartoon. As China’s conduct over the years has revealed, its regime is very serious about being taken seriously by everyone and one of the most meaningful ways to show the world how serious you are is by banning cartoons mocking the regime or its leaders.
However, the fact that China can afford to indulge in such ‘harsh’ measures without suffering any consequences does say a lot about the country. When a country has a strong economy and wields enough power on the international scene, it can get away with literally anything, even the imprisonment of millions of Muslims in concentration camps and censoring Winnie the Pooh.
As the recent NBA controversy has demonstrated, if the regime is strong, stable and powerful enough, it can even make the biggest purveyors of ‘Woke Capitalism’ obediently fellate the Supreme Leader and make them express their profound gratitude to the authoritarian regime for granting them the opportunity.
There’s another aspect to the whole affair. President Xi Jinping may look like Winnie the Pooh, however, he does fancy himself as the Emperor of China. And a regime that is obsessed with showing people their might, as is very necessary sometimes, it cannot and will not tolerate someone reminding them of the startling likeness between a cartoon and their emperor.