THE Chinese ban on Winnie the Pooh runs contrary to the whole ideology of the childhood character, says the daughter of the man who helped re- establish Sussex’s link with the beloved bear.

Clare Ridley, whose late father Mike created Pooh Corner to celebrate the bear’s links to the county, said it was “awful” the A.A Milne character had been “politicised”.

Pooh’s image and name have been censored from China’s two main social networks because of the apparent physical similarity to President Xi Jinping.

Wealden MP Nus Ghani is now leading calls for the ban, thought to have been brought in to reduce dissent ahead of the Communist Party congress in the autumn, to be dropped.

Winnie the Pooh images are posted on social media to poke fun at the president – an image of Xi and President Barack Obama in 2013 was compared to one of Pooh and Tigger.

Ms Ridley said: “It’s ironic because it goes against the whole philosophy of Winnie the Pooh. The whole ideology of life, as detailed in the Tao of Pooh, is very tolerant, very relaxed and all about friendship.

“The politicisation of Pooh is a recent thing and goes against those traditions and it is a shame if people are using his image to denigrate others.”

Mike Ridley dedicated more than 30 years to creating the shrine in Hartfield in the Ashdown Forest, the real life inspiration for Pooh’s home, Hundred Acre Wood.

A potter by trade, he started selling home-made fudge to passing motorists before gaining a licence from Disney to create Pooh tableware.

The shop has grown into a tourism attraction selling a range of Poophernalia and Pooh-related food to visitors from more than 100 countries.

His daughter said the ban is likely to be a blow to the legion of Pooh fans in China.

Ms Ridley said: “So many people in China love Winnie the Pooh.

“In Japan he’s known as Kuma no p?-san and he’s massive, but he is also hugely popular in China.

“When I ran Pooh Corner when my dad was ill, we had so many visitors from China.

“Unfortunately China is so controlling. It’s awful that he’s become politicised.”

Ms Ghani said: “It is a great shame that the Chinese government have felt the need to censor Winnie the Pooh. Censorship is a significant issue in China and blocking the much loved Winnie the Pooh may seem minor but reflects the much larger issue of freedom of speech.

“There is much that can be learned from the Winnie the Pooh books by children and adults alike. Indeed, in my maiden speech in 2015 I was proud to reference Winnie the Pooh with a quote from the books that I feel politicians should take to heart, ‘You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.’”