Viral becomes a punch in the face for… Winnie the Pooh. Amid (new) tension with Beijing, Taiwanese are rushing to buy an insignia worn by their air force pilots. The reason; depicts a Formosan black bear hitting… Winnie the Pooh – symbolizing China’s leader Xi Jinping – as a symbol of the island’s resistance to Chinese military exercises.

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 US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy despite warnings from Beijing. .

Chinese censors have long targeted Winnie the Pooh – created by British author AA Milne – on the internet for identifying with… China’s leader.

Alec Hsu, who designed the emblem, has been selling it in his shop since last year, but saw a dramatic increase in orders after Taiwan’s military news agency published a photo of the emblem on the arm of a pilot inspecting a fighter jet on Saturday.

“I wanted to boost the morale of our troops by designing this emblem,” said Hsu, who owns Wings Fan Goods Shop. He said he has ordered more to meet the increased demand. Customers include military and civilians.

The banner shows an angry black formosan bear holding the flag of Taiwan and punching Winnie the Pooh, with the slogan “Scramble!” (the rapid takeoff procedure).

The endangered Formosa black bear is considered a symbol of Taiwan’s identity. Taiwan was formerly known internationally as Formosa.

Taiwan’s air force clarified to Reuters that while it does not “highly encourage” its members to wear the insignia in question, which is not officially part of their uniform, it “maintains an open attitude” to anything that boosts morale.