Taiwanese defy China with a patch of mockery for Xi Jinping

Taiwanese citizens are protesting against China’s latest military drills focused on their country by buying patches that show a Taiwanese black bear punching Winnie the Pooh – a character used in memes to represent Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The patches first gained popularity among air force pilots.

Alec Hsu, who designed the patch, told Reuters he has been selling it at his shop since last year but received a surge in orders after Taiwan’s military agency shared a photo of a pilot inspecting a fighter jet while wearing the patch.

The patch shows an endangered Formosan black bear, a symbol of Taiwanese identity, holding the country’s flag and punching Winnie the Pooh.

Its slogan, “Scramble!” alludes to the response by Taiwan’s pilots to China’s planes entering the country’s air space.

Another patch shows a Taiwanese fighter pilot slapping a panda, China’s national symbol.


Patches depicting a Formosan black bear holding Taiwan’s flag and punching Winnie the Pooh. Photo: Reuters

“I wanted to boost the morale of our troops through designing this patch,” Mr Hsu said.

He has ordered more patches to meet increased demand from military personnel and civilians.

The patches sell for 200 Taiwanese dollars (about $10).

China has censored representations of Winnie the Pooh – created by English author AA Milne – in the past, due to internet memes that compare the honey-loving bear to its president.

The comparisons began in 2013 when President Xi visited the US and met his then-counterpart Barack Obama, and some online commentators seized on their likeness to Pooh and Tigger.

Taiwan’s air force said while it does not encourage its members to wear the patch, which is not part of the uniform, it will maintain an “open attitude” to anything that raises morale.

War drills

China completed three days of military exercises around Taiwan on Monday, including simulating targeted strikes and sealing off the island.

Beijing began the exercises on Saturday after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry stated China’s military sent several dozen warplanes and 11 warships toward Taiwan in a display of force following its president’s trip.

It added it would not stop strengthening its combat preparedness.

In a statement on Monday, it said it was approaching the situation from the perspective of “not escalating conflict, and not causing disputes”.

China’s military harassment of Taiwan has intensified in recent years, with planes or ships sent toward the island on a near-daily basis, with the numbers rising in reaction to sensitive activities.

-with wires

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