In China, it’s a blustery day in the Hundred Acre Woods. Some recent Kingdom Hearts 3 screenshots posted by a Chinese website were missing Winnie the Pooh, who plays a role in the game. While it may seem like an innocent misstep, this is due to memes that compare the red-shirted bear to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. This controversy has caused officials to censor media depicting Winnie the Pooh and, in order to avoid trouble, it seems as though the site has covered the Disney bear up with white splotches.
You can see the censored screenshots laid out on A9VG’s site. While we’ve reached out to Square Enix to inquire about where the censorship originated, the involvement with Xi is a likely reason. About halfway through the Hundred Acre Woods section, you can see a picture of the Winnie the Pooh puzzle game included in Kingdom Hearts 3. On the right is Winnie eating a pot of “hunny” in full view. It seems as though whoever did the censoring didn’t notice this cameo and let it slip through.
China’s problem with Winnie the Pooh isn’t a new phenomenon either. Xi saw comparisons to Pooh when walking with the former American President Barack Obama, who was compared to the more lanky Tigger. Another popular image from the time spliced in Pooh’s face to match the leader’s as he shakes his hand with Eeyore. The meme became so prolific that Disney also could not release the 2018 Christopher Robin film in theaters in China.
If Square Enix is able to release Kingdom Hearts 3 to the Chinese public, it’s possible that the game will fall victim to censorship. As of now, the game will appear on American shores with a ton of Winnie the Pooh on January 25, 2019.