Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

China bans Winnie-the-Pooh movie after comparisons to President Xi

China bans Winnie-the-Pooh movie after comparisons to President Xi

It is unclear why the Chinese government denied the request and Chinese authorities do not provide reasons to Hollywood studios when they disallow screening of their movies, the source said. It typically favors action-heavy blockbusters such as "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Black Panther", two of four Disney films that have played in China so far this year.

The film, starring Ewan McGregor and a CGI Winnie the Pooh, aspires to tell the tale of recapturing childhood innocence.

The live-action film, which premieres in India on August 10 released worldwide this Friday except in China.

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While no official reason has been given, Chinese President Xi Jinping's appearance was previously unfavourably compared to Winnie the Pooh's, prompting a large-scale crackdown on the honey-loving cartoon bear.

One image shows Xi Jinping standing next to Barack Obama, with a drawing of Pooh next to Tigger next to it (comparing Jinping to the bear and Obama to the tall, slender tiger).

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

Although "Christopher Robin" won't be shown to the country of 1.3 billion people, it made a solid debut in the U.S. last Friday, grossing US$24.6 million (£19 million) in ticket sales. In 2015, the Financial Times reported, a photo of Xi waving at supporters from a parade auto next to an image of Pooh in a toy vehicle was named the most censored image of the year by Global Risk Insights. Winnie the Pooh became a symbol of the Chinese resistance against the ruling Communist Party, prompting authorities to heavily censor the character, the BBC reported.

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