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Was Peng Shuais Winnie the Pooh’s selfie a distress signal? Social media users are obsessed with it



On WeChat, Peng Shuai posted a photo with Winnie the Pooh in the background
On WeChat, Peng Shuai posted a photo with Winnie the Pooh in the background

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New Delhi: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who earlier this month accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, has shocked some social media users with his latest selfie.

Last week, the three-time Olympian uploaded a series of photos to the Chinese social media app WeChat, playing with her cat as she was surrounded by stuffed animals in what appeared to be her bedroom. State TV employee Shen Shiwei later share the photos on Twitter.

In the days that followed, social media users were obsessed with a photo that featured an image of the fictional Winnie the Pooh bear in the background and speculated that it was a “signal from distress”.

“No one else noticed that WeChat Peng Shuai’s photos featured a Winnie the Pooh (!) In the background…? Asked a user.

Chinese-born human rights activist Jennifer Zeng suggested the selfie implied that Peng was in the hands of China’s secret police and that “Winnie the Pooh is behind” it all.

Winnie the Pooh is a common derogatory nickname for President Xi Jinping, which has been compared to the body shape of cartoon characters in the past. Since 2017, Chinese internet users have been banned to post memes comparing Winnie the Pooh to Xi.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also sparked speculation last year after he tweeted a photo of his dog playing with a Winnie the Pooh plush toy. He later refuse that the picture had a hidden message.

It comes as China prepares to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Selfie appeared after the #WhereIsPengShuai trend

The photos on WeChat came after weeks of speculation about Peng’s disappearance, following his accusation against the former vice premier. Last week, the #WhereIsPengShuai hashtag started popping up on social media, and tennis stars from around the world like Serena Williams have spoken.

The Women’s Tennis Association also had threatens remove all events from China next year if he hasn’t received proof that Peng is safe.

(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)

Read also : China cannot use sport as soft power for a long time. The 2022 Winter Olympics are doomed to fail

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