But this week Winnie – or rather the street performer who dons the furry bear outfit to make a living – was banished from his usual spot to avoid an embarrassing diplomatic incident.
But who could possibly find Winnie the Pooh offensive, you may ask?
The Chinese President Xi Jingping is reportedly averse to the A A Milne character ever since a comparison was made between the two after a meeting with Barack Obama at the White House in 2013.
While the former president was cast as the exuberant Tigger, the Chinese premier landed the role of portly slow-thinking bear.
— Erika Araujo (@ErikaAraujoMX) June 13, 2013
A year later, the joke was revived when Xi met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was compared to the pessimistic figure of Eeyore.
Left – Xi Jinping shakes hands Shinzo Abe
Right – Winnie shakes hands with Eeyore pic.twitter.com/z95A9EX2EU
— Winnie The Panda (@Winniethepanda3) September 27, 2018
Winnie has reportedly now become a symbol of resistance against the country’s ruling Communist Party and its leader.
Things have gone so far that in August Disney’s latest version of the Winnie the Pooh story, the live-action Christopher Robin was denied release in China and any mention of the honey-loving bear has been stripped from Shanghai Disneyland.
The man inside the Winnie suit told Spanish media that police had asked him to make himself scarce ahead of Mr Xi's motorcade passing through the plaza on the way to Madrid's historic town hall building.
The street perfomer told Spanish media that he had been approached by police who explained that the Chinese premier might be offended at his presence because of jokes at home comparing him to Pooh.
— eldiario.es (@eldiarioes) November 28, 2018
“I didn’t make a fuss about it. It was only 20 or 30 minutes,” the street perfomer told the digital newspaper eldiario.es.
“I understand that I’d be asked to move away so as not to cause offense,” he said.