aiwan’s new premier has been accused of trolling China by holding a Winnie the Pooh doll while scolding Beijing about being more open and proactive regarding the recent outbreak of African swine fever across the strait.
On Tuesday, Su Tseng-chang, who became Taiwan’s premier for the second time last month, uploaded a video onto his Facebook page of himself starring in a mock cooking show aimed at addressing public concerns about the rapid spread of swine fever in China which began back in December.
At one point during the show, Su brandishes a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal while beseeching the Chinese government to strengthen its epidemic prevention measures and share any new developments with neighboring governments. “Neighbors should help, not harm each other,” the premier said.
Of course, it’s hard to see any connection between Winnie the Pooh and African swine fever, leading many to assume that the toy was included for the express purpose of trolling China, where the lovable cartoon bear is something of a persona non grata because of his purported likeness to Chinese president Xi Jinping, a comparison that China’s “most powerful leader since Mao” apparently finds unflattering.
Winnie the Pooh’s name and picture have occasionally been censored on Chinese social media. Last August, the live-action Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, was denied a release in the Middle Kingdom, prompting Taiwan’s foreign ministry to tweet: “Taiwan’s OhBear is dismayed at the ban slapped on his cousin Winnie’s latest film by censors in China. All bears are created equal in Taiwan & @DisneyCRobin is screening nationwide.”
The ministry soon deleted the tweet, saying that it wanted to “avoid any misinterpretation.”
Similarly, Su has tried to claim that he didn’t really mean anything by his Winnie the Pooh stunt and was only trying to appeal to China. Taipei has accused Beijing of withholding information regarding the swine fever outbreak, an accusation that has only further raised ever-present cross-strait tensions.