China denies entry to Disney's Winnie the Pooh film

Tabitha Dunn
August 10, 2018

Disney's live-animated Christopher Robin placed second, at US$25 million. Chinese authorities do not provide reasons to Hollywood studios when they reject their movies, the source said.

Popular memes compare images of Xi and former U.S. President Barack Obama walking side-by-side to similar cartoon scenes including Pooh and his taller, leaner friend Tigger, a hyperactive tiger.

Xi was again compared to the fictional bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who took on the part of the pessimistic, gloomy donkey, Eeyore.

No reason has been given for the decision, but it's believed to be part of a nationwide clampdown on references to author A.A. Milne's fictional bear, who has become a weird symbol of political dissent in China among citizens who believe the character resembles the nation's leader Xi Jinping. The HBO website owas blocked last month after comedian John Oliver repeatedly made fun of the Chinese President's apparent sensitivity over comparisons of his figure with that of Winnie.

Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, which debuted around the world in March, has not been released in China.

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It typically favours 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.

China does limit the number of foreign films released there, however.

In 2015, the political analysis portal Global Risk Insights called a picture of Xi standing up through the roof of a parade vehicle paired with an image of a Winnie the Pooh toy auto "China's most censored photo" of the year.

The new film tells the story of a now middle-aged Christopher Robin, whose mundane life takes a turn when he is unexpectedly reunited with the Hundred Acre Wood's Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and other animals from his childhood.

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