Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

China bans Winnie-the-Pooh film

China bans Winnie-the-Pooh film

China's film authorities are denying the release of Christopher Robin at a time when Winnie the Pooh has emerged as a symbol of resistance in the country toward its leader Xi Jinping.

But the country also has an annual foreign film quota set at 34 movies.

While an official reason has not been given for the film's apparent ban, Winnie-the-Pooh has become a symbol of resistance to the ruling Communist Party in China after bloggers started to compare Chinese President Xi Jinping to the friendly but clumsy, slow-witted and tubby toy bear.

The Hollywood Reporter names two reasons the film may have been denied release in China. Some Disney releases, such as Maleficent and Cinderella, have done well for the company in China in recent years. The film tells the story of Robin reuniting with Pooh and the gang as an adult and rediscovering his playful imagination.

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The trend first started in 2013 when Jinping visited the United States and an image of him walking alongside then American president Barack Obama was likened to one featuring Pooh and Tigger, according to The Guardian.

A range of internet jokes, including memes and gifs of the honey-loving bear, have been removed from Chinese social media.

Global Risk Insights bosses suggest the censorship of Pooh in China may be taking place because the comparisons with the President are seen by Beijing as "a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself".

The comparison once again made rounds in 2014, when an image of Jinping shaking hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was posted on Twitter juxtapositioned to a picture of Pooh and Eeyore.

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