China censors 'fat head and big ears' poem over fears it was about the president

China censors 'fat head and big ears' poem over fears it was about the president
Hong Kong: "No reason to change 'one country two systems'" (Xi Jinping)

Extraordinary scenes in China after a poem referencing the “fat heads and big ears” of an insect was censored for fear of offending President Xi Jinping.

Xuan Kejiong, a reporter who works for the Shanghai Media Group, shared his ode to cicadas on Weibo - a social media site where he has a staggering 1.6million followers.

Inspired by his experiences of running in the summer heat, the poet moaned of insects “crawling out of the dark” but apparently the reference to “fat heads and big ears” could be misconstrued and thus he was forced to remove the piece of work.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The poem immediately went viral but within half an hour the Shanghai Media Group was receiving constant inquiries relating to what exactly Kejiong meant by his words. They got their man to remove the offending poem and put out a statement which read:

“The Shanghai Media Group has solemnly criticised the reporter Xuan Kejiong, who realises his mistake... his personal reflections could be easily subject to creative association by others.”

It is an extraordinary state of affairs when people can find fault and take offence to subtext that isn’t even there. We shouldn’t be surprised, however, since this is not the first time the President has displayed remarkably thin skin regarding his appearance.

In one of the most incredible examples of the Streisand effect in history, the 2018 Christopher Robin film was banned in China because of widespread comparisons between President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh. With any luck this latest act of censorship will have a similar impact and people will talk of little else in the coming days.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)