China is Censoring Memes of Xi Jinping’s Lifetime Rule


China announced this weekend that it is relinquishing its presidency’s two-term limit, effectively giving incumbent leader Xi Jinping more years to rule the country.

image via Flickr/Michel Temer (CC BY 2.0)

 Government-run media outlets have so far kept the latest political development off its front pages and discussions online have been made virtually difficult.

Some Chinese netizens, however, began using memes to express their opinion.

One popular meme is Winnie the Pooh, aka “Emperor Winnie” which plays on Xi’s resemblance to the beloved chubby character.

Image via WeChat

The meme’s origins actually date back to 2013 when images of Xi and United States President Barack Obama went viral for looking uncannily similar to animated buddies Tigger and Pooh.

While Pooh and related images have since been banned by censors on Chinese social media, the meme has resurfaced as a commentary to recent events.

The president without term limits also reminded some of China’s past emperors who were able to hold on to power until they die.

Some associated the recent political shift with the action of Qing dynasty general Yuan Shikai, who crowned himself an emperor of a new imperial dynasty he pushed for in 1915.

Soon enough, the name “Yuan Shikai,” phrases like “long live the king” and “ascended to the throne,” were censored.

Netizens reportedly received “violations of laws and regulations” messages if they attempted to post or comment using them.

Incidentally, a massive spike in the number of people searching for the word “immigration” on Baidu was observed after the proposal was announced.

While the amendment would still have to go through the National People’s Congress and be ratified in March, it is expected to pass without fail considering Xi Jinping’s influence over the ruling party.

Feature Image (right) via WeChat, (left) via Flickr/Michel Temer (CC BY 2.0)

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