An anguished letter-writer to the South China Morning Post starts the week by needlessly complicating hostile foreign forces’ latest wanton attempt to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s core leader and genius, Xi Jinping.
The juxtaposition of a picture of Winnie-the-Pooh – and Tigger, too – alongside a photo of similarly tubby, plodding Xi with the lean and sprightly Barack Obama famously overloaded China’s Internet-censorship systems. The letter-writer corrects a previous correspondent who attributed the character of the bear of little brain to Walt Disney, pointing out that it was AA Milne.
Milne’s creation has always had its detractors – such as Dorothy Parker, who ‘fwowed up’. But many of us who grew up with the soppy tales of Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet at least enjoyed the illustrations by EH Shepard. These pictures realistically portrayed Pooh as a teddy bear.
The Disneyfied Pooh is predictably a dumbed-down caricature and travesty of the original. But it is this version – not the (now unfamiliar) EH Shepard one – that looks startlingly similar to China’s visionary General Secretary and Chairman. Only the Disney Pooh works as a subversive parody of the originator of the Chinese Dream of a great rejuvenation of the nation.