(Taipei) Patriotic patches showing a Taiwanese black bear punching Winnie the Pooh in the face are all the rage on the island, netizens seeing it as a joke aimed at Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Several Taiwanese air force pilots wore the iron-on badge on their uniforms as a sign of defiance of the Chinese leader, often mocked for his physical resemblance, some say, to the famous amateur cartoon character honey.

” It’s incredible. This is the happiest thing in recent days,” exclaims netizen Mark Sasha Liang on Facebook. “Wear this to go through Chinese customs,” quipped Chen Kai-chu, another user.

China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, conducted major military maneuvers around the island for three days, simulating attacks and a blockade, to protest against a trip to the United States by Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen.

One of the images released by the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense during the exercises to show the state of readiness of its army caught the attention of Internet users.

A pilot is there, inspecting a fighter plane and wearing a patch on the sleeve of his jacket where a Formosan black bear punches Winnie the Pooh, the Taiwan flag in its other paw.

Two of the badges feature the word “Scramble!” (“Fight”) at the bottom, with one saying “Fight for freedom.”

A third patch drawn in 2022 shows a Taiwanese military pilot punching a panda, a national symbol in China. It was produced on the occasion of similar military maneuvers conducted by China last August after the visit to Taipei of then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Taiwanese rushed to buy the Winnie the Pooh badges, marketed for 200 Taiwan dollars (8.85 Canadian dollars) by the company Wings Fan Goods, based in Taoyuan, where they are now sold out of stock.

A Facebook user selling the crests, who asked to be identified as Wizardgeo, reported receiving some 1,000 orders since the image went viral over the weekend.

Most requests come from Taiwan but others come from mainland China and Hong Kong, he said.