On 19 February,a Taiwanese horror game called “Devotion” was officially released by Taipei-based studio Red Candle Games but much to the chagrin of Chinese netizens the game was found to be highly defamatory to their president Xi Jin Ping.
The defamation bit in the game was through a Taoist talisman, believed to be carrying a sealed script with the words “Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh” in an ancient style of Chinese writing.
This prompted many Chinese citizens to express their infuriation over the reference to their leader as Winnie the Pooh.
Some protestors even staged a boycott of “Devotion,” which led to the game being updated and the controversial image removed.
On Saturday, Red Candle Games apologized through a Facebook post, claiming that this mistake was un-intentional and it sprang from the trendy use of online language. The post garnered both support as well as condemnation.
A Taiwanese gamer wrote, “This is Taiwan, a place advocating freedom and democracy. The incident should be taken as mischievous and with a sense of humour, just like how Donald Trump is often mocked in the U.S.
One of the reasons the Winnie the Pooh comparison has caused such a public outcry is because in 2017 Chinese bloggers compared the cute and plump cartoon character with the president.
An example of this was even reflected in the handshake between Xi Jinping and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where netizens responded that it was akin to Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore shaking hands.
Another example of this was when Xi was photographed walking with Barack Obama, which was pictured this way:
Aside from public ridicule, Xi does not want this popular cartoon character to become a kind of online euphemism for him.
Although such analogies and caricatures maybe seen as witty in other countries, it is not perceived as so in China, more so as Xi is perceived to be a serious and immaculate character, one that is above reproach.
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