Thu, Aug 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Tweet on China’s ‘Pooh’ ban a positive message: ministry

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

A deleted tweet by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pictured.

Screengrab from the Internet

A sarcastic tweet by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on China’s reported ban on Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, was meant to send a positive message that Taiwan is a democratic nation where people enjoy unfettered freedom of speech, the ministry said yesterday.

China’s reported ban is believed to have been caused by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) being trolled by memes by Chinese netizens comparing him with Winnie the Pooh.

The ministry on Tuesday made fun of the reported ban on the movie in a tweet:

“Taiwan’s #OhBear is dismayed at the ban slapped on his cousin Winnie’s latest film by censors in #China,” the ministry said on Twitter. “Make no mistake: All bears are created equal in #Taiwan and @DisneyCRobin is screening nationwide.”

In an unexpected turn of events, the ministry yesterday removed the tweet “to avoid any unnecessary misinterpretation,” but said that it would continue to draw attention to Taiwan’s freedom and democratic values through various channels.

“Our support for freedoms of creation and speech also remain unchanged,” the ministry said.

The OhBear motif, created by the Tourism Bureau in December 2013 to promote the nation’s tourism and enhance its international visibility, portrays the endemic Formosan black bear.

The tweet was picked up by CNN, which said the Taiwanese government was attempting to highlight its greater freedom of expression compared with Beijing by drawing attention to rumors of the ban.

Cross-strait relations have hit a stalemate since 2016 due to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to toe Beijing’s “one China” line.

Tsai has often expressed her hope that Chinese would one day also be able to enjoy freedom and democracy like their Taiwanese counterparts.

Asked whether the tweet was designed as a sneer at Beijing, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) did not give a direct answer, saying only that the government was simply trying to tell the world and those who care about Taiwan that “we are a nation with democracy and free speech.”

“We are trying to send that message through different means. I think this is rather positive,” Lee said.

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