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Toying with China? Pompeo photo of dog & Winnie the Pooh teddy bear sparks online speculation

Toying with China? Pompeo photo of dog & Winnie the Pooh teddy bear sparks online speculation
A tweet from Mike Pompeo has led to much speculation about whether the back and forth with China is now getting personal, as the picture includes a reference to a derogatory nickname for the Chinese president.

US Secretary of State Pompeo posted a photo of his dog, Mercer, surrounded by all her “favorite toys” to his Twitter page on Tuesday evening, kicking off numerous conspiracy theories thanks to the inclusion of a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal.

While it would seem an innocuous picture, Winnie the Pooh is a derogatory nickname that has been used to describe Chinese President Xi Jinping. The term has gained such widespread popularity that it has even been censored on Chinese social media, making it likely Pompeo is aware of the reference.

The nickname gained attention in 2013 after critics of the president began sharing memes using the reference as a way to criticize Xi without blowback or censorship.

Comments on the tweet were quick to point out the connection.

The inclusion of Pompeo’s dog in the picture also could be a reference to the US’ increasingly  antagonistic attitude toward China, a nation President Donald Trump has criticized since he was first running for office in 2016.

The president and many in his administration have since criticized China for their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan, and their treatment of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Beijing’s influence in East Asia can also be seen as a threat to the US’ economic and political interests.

Also on rt.com Trump signs executive order and bill targeting China over Hong Kong, strips city of preferential treatment

The Pompeo photo comes on the heels of an executive order from Trump that will suspend previously held special treatment for Hong Kong in regards to trade and other matters. The president also announced he had signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act on Tuesday, which aims to put sanctions on politicians and banks threatening the autonomy of Hong Kong and the rights of its people. 

China has blasted the move  as “gross interference in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs.”

Also on rt.com Beijing vows tit-for-tat sanctions & says retaliation INEVITABLE unless US changes course after Trump signs new HK legislation

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