YouTube superstar PewDiePie has been banned from China for the seemingly innocuous act of laughing at Winnie the Pooh memes.
The 29-year-old, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, who has made his fortune playing games online, explained that after President Xi Jinping was likened to Winnie the Pooh during the Hong Kong protests in one of his videos, he was blacklisted by the Chinese government.This is how PewDiePie made millions playing video games:
The video was an episode of PewDiePie's Meme Review series that looked at the Hong Kong protests and China, with an obvious emphasis on the countless memes activists created.To see what offended the Chinese government so much, check out the video below:
Addressing his fans, PewDiePie said: "Well boys, we did it. I'm banned from China, That's right (laughs), after I spoke about the Hong Kong protests, and showed their leader being mocked for looking like Winnie the Pooh, I got banned from China.
"That's right. Now if you search anything PewDiePie related on any Reddit related forum in China or a YouTube related video, it will just be completely blank."
"I'm laughing, but yeah I'm sorry if you're in China and try to watch my videos," he continued. "That kinda sucks."
"It's just kinda funny, like I knew it was going to happen. The music artist Zedd got banned in China just because he liked a South Park tweet, so obviously me talking about the Hong Kong memes was going to get me banned."
So what's so offensive about Winnie the Pooh, I hear you ask? Well, he's a symbol of resistance and protest in China, and the communist party has been consistently challenged by activists and bloggers using his image.
Apparently, it all began with President Xi was compared to Winnie after a 2013 visit to the US and since then he's been very sensitive about the alleged likeness.
Who'd have thought a classic children's book character could be so political, eh?