In a move seen by some as mocking PRC President Xi Jinping, Premier Su Tseng-chang released a video in which he held a Winnie the Pooh doll up as he exhorted the government of China to strengthen epidemic prevention, and share information with its neighbors.
The video, posted to Premier Su’s Facebook page yesterday, came in the form of a faux cooking show, in which Su and his assistant demonstrated the importance of cooking pork thoroughly to prevent the spread of diseases such as African swine flu.
Toward the end of the video, the premier picks up a Winnie the Pooh doll and holds it while addressing the Chinese government. Su urges the PRC government to strengthen epidemic prevention, and to share information with neighboring governments including Taiwan and Japan.
When questioned by media during a visit to a temple in Xinzhuang District this morning, Su said that the Pooh bear was just a matter of using soft appeal.
“China is an (ASF) infected area, and if they do a good job at epidemic prevention and reporting, it can reduce pressure on Taiwan,” the premier said.
Japan, China’s other neighboring countries, and even Germany, are nervous about the spread of swine flu.
As for using a Winnie the Pooh doll, critics accused Premier Su of deliberately taunting President Xi.
“It is a ridiculous, ironic meaning. I feel that if he uses such a mentality, the two sides will never be peaceful,” said Kuomintang legislator Fai Hrong-Tai (費鴻泰), quoted in a TVBS report.
The Chinese name for Winnie the Pooh, and images of the cartoon character have been blocked on social media sites in China since people started comparing Xi to the cuddly bear, according to the BBC.
Xi as Winnie the Pooh memes began to circulate online after a picture of Xi and Barack Obama, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Winnie and his friend Tigger, appeared in the global media and on Chinese social websites in 2013.
More pictures followed comparing Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Winnie and Eeyore. Another picture showing Xi standing up in his limousine while inspecting PLA troops was compared to a Winnie the Pooh toy.
Su’s fellow Democratic Progressive Party members defended the premier’s handling of the cuddly toy.
DPP legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) was quoted by TVBS as saying, “I think Premier Su just wanted to express the idea that if China doesn’t harm Taiwan’s position, both sides can be brothers.”
The video segment showed goodwill towards Xi, and was a friendly gesture, according to Hsu.
Sources: United Daily News, TVBS, BBC.
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