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Punch in the face for Xi caricature: Taiwan Air Force badge goes viral

Punch in the face for Xi caricature: Taiwan Air Force badge goes viral

TAIPEI/BEIJING: Taiwanese rush to buy patches worn by their Air Force pilots depicting a Formosan black bear punching Winnie the Pooh – representing the Chinese president Xi Jinping – as a defiant symbol of the island’s resistance to Chinese war games.
China began three days of military exercises around Taiwan on Saturday, a day after the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, returned from a brief visit to the United States, where she met with the president of the United States House, Kevin McCarthy, despite warnings from Beijing.
Chinese censors have long targeted depictions of Winnie the Pooh – created by British author AA Milne – in internet memes that compare the fictional bear to the Chinese president.
Alec Hsu, who designed the patch, has been selling it at his store since last year, but saw a surge in orders after Taiwan’s military news agency published a photo of the patch on a man’s arm on Saturday. pilot inspecting a fighter plane.
“I wanted to boost the morale of our troops by designing this patch,” said Hsu, owner of Wings Fan Goods Shop.
Hsu said he ordered more patches to meet increased demand. Clients have included military officers and civilians.
The patch features an angry Formosan black bear holding the flag of Taiwan and punching Winnie the Pooh, along with the slogan “Scramble!” – referring to what pilots on the island have had to do with increased frequency over the past three years as China sends more planes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.
The endangered Formosan black bear is considered a symbol of Taiwanese identity. Taiwan was previously better known internationally as Formosa.
“Where can we find a patch like this! Guaranteed to be a bestseller!” Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the United States wrote in a tweet on Monday.
The Taiwanese air force told Reuters that while it “does not particularly encourage” its members to wear the patch, which is not part of their uniform, it will “maintain an open attitude” to anything. which would boost morale.
China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out taking the island by force. Tsai’s government rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.
While the Winnie the Pooh patch is nowhere to be found on Chinese social media, Beijing has also been promoting videos and comments about its exercises around Taiwan.
THE People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, the Chinese unit believed to be on the front line of any military action against Taiwan, released a video on Monday showing scenes from the exercise, set to lively music.
The video targeted a Taiwanese audience using traditional Chinese characters, which are still used in Taiwan but no longer in mainland China.

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