China’s President Xi Jinping has returned to Beijing from his shirtsleeves meeting with the US President Barack Obama on June 9. On China’s biggest online social platform Sina Weibo, discussions about the Xi-Obama Summit are still ongoing, though on a totally different level. The Chinese are quite happy dwelling on the tidbits of the reports and joking about their president with a rare degree of candor and good humor. More surprisingly, these posts are tolerated by Sina’s tight censor, much to the surprise of the Weibo users.
Obama and Xi wave to the reporters during the walk before their second meeting on June 8. Photo: AP
An interpretation error was one of such details that became a source of amusement for the Chinese. Before their second meeting at Sunnylands, Xi and Obama took a long walk together when Obama asked whether Xi exercises. Xi answered he likes to take a swim. “I swim 1,000 meters every day to keep myself energized.” Xi said. However, the “1,000 meters” was turned into “10,000 meters” when the interpreter tried to translate. This exclusive clip posted by Sina’s official account SinaVideo @新浪视频 went viral almost instantly as the observant Chinese were quick to pick out the mistake.
In many reposts, Obama’s reaction was described as “Obama took a look at Xi upon hearing it.” @深圳舒生 interpreted this “meaningful look” as to say “Fortunately, the Pacific is wide enough.” @Fujiaa said, “Swim a thousand meters a day and (he still) has a pot belly! That is not scientific! ” “Swimming is clearly no good for losing weight!” quipped many Chinese in their comments.
As if that is not enough gibing, Chinese took another shot at their President’s plump figure. @jerryredred, a Peking University graduate according to her account info, posted this on her Weibo with the words: “Uncanny! If you understand it, come in!”
Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. Do you see the resemblance? Uploader @jerryredred said she deliberately chose the real person version of Tigger and Winnie because she thought the cartoon version did not quite hit the nail on the head. Photo: weibo.com
Thousands of people reposted this Weibo and left in their comments tens of thousands of smiley faces. Many asked in disbelief, “How come this post is still here?” @和菜头, a popular Weibo account jeered, “Does it have to be a black Tigger for this post to be deleted?” @jerryredred herself was rather relaxed and retorted, “Why? I didn’t say anything! It’s just a cartoon.”
Amazed at the uncanny resemblance, most people also found this good-natured jest funny and endearing. @菇魂野鬼_Giggle said, “Perfect cos(play)!” @史莱克女士 wrote, “Haha, suddenly I found Xi Dada (Uncle Xi, a term used to address Xi Jinping by the Chinese netizens) so cute.”
If you are none the wiser, take a look at this picture and you will understand why. @五岳散人commented on this weibo posted by reporter @记者刘向南, “If the world was like this picture, it would be a wonderful place.” Photo: weibo.com
So the Chinese is likening their President to a beloved cartoon character. Moreover, the "brave" posts all lived to see another day under Weibo’s all-too-strict censorship. Perhaps Winnie-the-Pooh is the one the Chinese should thank for.