Pics: Taiwan Air Force pilot spotted with ‘Winnie the Pooh’ uniform patch in apparent swipe at Xi Jinping

Taiwan’s Military News Agency released photos showing the National Army in training last week, including one photo of a Taiwan Air Force pilot wearing a “Winnie the Pooh” lookalike arm patch. Chinese President Xi Jinping is often compared to the iconic children’s cartoon teddy bear, which is frequently referenced to mock the communist leader.

The photos were posted on Twitter along with a lengthy caption, which stated in part, “In the face of the Communist Army deliberately creating tension in the Taiwan Strait, the National Army adheres to the principle of ‘not escalating conflicts, not causing disputes,’ focuses on training to deal with the enemy’s situation, and always defends national security.”

面對共軍蓄意製造臺海緊張,國軍秉持「不升高衝突、不引發爭端」原則,以訓練為著眼應處敵情,時刻捍衛國家安全。#空軍防空部隊 擔任防空警戒任務,官兵始終保持高度警覺、加強戒備,無負守護國家安全的責任。防砲部隊官兵操作 #35快砲#天兵雷達pic.twitter.com/RnkJZmjtAS

— 軍聞社 Military News Agency, ROC(Taiwan) (@mna_roc) April 9, 2023

The pilots’ patch depicts Winnie the Pooh-like bear being punched in the face by a Formosan black bear.

Formosan black bears are the only bears native to Taiwan. The bear has been adopted as Taiwan’s mascot. 

As with most social trends, the Winnie the Pooh reference mocking Xi can be traced to a meme posted on social media in 2013. A photo of President Xi walking alongside then-president Barack Obama split screened with an image of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger went viral. 

I love how nobody calls Obama Tigger anymore, because he just didn’t care, but everyone still calls Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh, because he got big mad about it. pic.twitter.com/24om7brV5R

— Guy Kazama (@Dijago) August 13, 2022

The trend of mocking comparisons didn’t stop there, with another split-screen meme of President Xi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe compared to Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh also going viral. 

Following this, memes comparing Xi to Winnie the Pooh became so commonplace that Xi eventually went to great lengths to stop the comparison, with the film “Winnie the Pooh” experiencing a ban in China in 2018. HBO was likewise temporarily blocked from China, following comedian John Oliver’s skit in which he made fun of Xi’s apparent sensitivity to the comparison. 

READ MORE: China likely cutting Taiwan’s internet cables to practice invasion, experts warn

Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers the island a part of its territory. Chinese officials have frequently alluded to “reunification” with Taiwan, potentially by force.

Alec Hsu, the owner of Wings Fan Goods Shop, designed the patch last year as a symbol of support for Taiwan’s military, according to Reuters.

“I wanted to boost the morale of our troops through designing this patch,” Hsu said, adding that after the photos were published, demand from both military members and civilians has increased dramatically.

While he is currently out of stock, Hsu said he has ordered more patches to meet the growing demand.

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