US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a photo on Twitter with his dog Mercer sitting next to several toys, one of which was a Winnie Pooh plush toy. Innocent at first glance, this image caused speculation about whether the diplomat was mocking the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
Nothing seems strange in this photo shared by the top American official, and his description does not refer to any hidden message either.
“Mercer and all of her favorite toys!” Pompeo wrote in the tweet.
He published it amid mounting tension in US relations with China. The British chain BBC was the first to remember that some Internet users often associate the childish character of AAMilne with the Chinese president to ridicule the latter. And this time, the image pushed several users of the social network to wonder if the diplomat was really making fun of China or not, the outlet wrote.
The adorable bear, who has a soft spot for honey in his comics, has become a meme after photos of President Xi Jinping were released alongside slender former US president Barack Obama, who, in turn, was compared to Winnie’s friend, Tigger.
They appear in a pairs? pic.twitter.com/Sdoz1A10Ec
— 饱看湖山 (@farewelltoSodom) July 15, 2020
Also, Pompeo may have taken a picture of his dog as a “to the US or to himself” reference. And it is that the word dog in Chinese is used to talk about people or countries that behave in an aggressive or wild way, the chain supposed.
It is not a secret that amid deteriorating US relations with China, the US diplomat has adopted a tough enough political line, criticizing the Asian country for infringing on freedom of expression, stifling protests in Hong Kong and failing to avoid the spread of the pandemic beyond its national borders.
In fact, the word dog was used by Hong Kong protesters to refer to police abuse in this special administrative region of China, the BBC recalls.
In turn, the elephant in the photo with the dog can be associated with India. In this way, the American diplomat was able to refer to the conflict that occurred recently on the border between the two countries and that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
However, all these grotesque interpretations have nothing to do with reality. The photo does not contain any hidden messages. Pompeo himself denied it in a radio program.
The diplomat revealed that Mercer has about 30 toys that he likes and that he chooses which ones to play with according to the one his other dog is holding.
“So no, I imagine there are a number of stuffed animals, and they are distributed equally for Mercer’s benefit,” Pompeo said when asked on the radio if he was sending a message to Beijing.