Pushed against the wall, Taiwan appears to have found a way to hit back at China amid Beijing’s relentless efforts to pressure the “wayward” and “recalcitrant” island – thanks to Winnie the Pooh.
On its official Twitter account, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry posted an image of its tourism mascot Oh! Bear to mock Beijing over its reported move to ban the adorable Disney cartoon character’s latest movie Christopher Robin.
As you know, Chinese censors are allergic to anything about Winnie the Pooh because netizens have used the image to make fun of President Xi Jinping, saying the two have an uncanny resemblance.
The ministry tweeted: “Taiwan’s #OhBear is dismayed at the ban slapped on his cousin Winnie’s latest film by censors in #China. Make no mistake: All bears are created equal in #Taiwan & @DisneyCRobin is screening nationwide.”
The tweet, which carried a link to The Guardian newspaper’s report on the ban, was later taken down after it was reported by news channel CNN.
Taiwan, of course, is not happy with what Beijing has been doing on the diplomatic and commercial fronts to put pressure on the island, which, although self-governed for almost 70 years, is still considered by China as part of its territory.
Many countries that used to have diplomatic ties with Taiwan have abandoned the island in the wake of promises of increased investment and assistance from Beijing.
Just recently, China has demanded that foreign firms – airlines, in particular – do not refer to Taiwan as a non-Chinese territory on their websites, which means they have to change references to the island to “Chinese Taipei”.
US President Donald Trump’s White House assailed Beijing’s move as “Orwellian nonsense”, but the airlines have decided to comply with the “request” because it is not in their interest to offend the rulers of a country with 1.4 billion consumers.
Many other companies, including fashion retailer Zara and hotel chain Marriott, have apologized for referring to Taiwan as a sovereign state.
Just as Winnie the Pooh has realized, one must bear the reality of politics.
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