China Forbids Release of 'Christopher Robin: Winnie the Pooh' Film
By Faith Magbanua, August 10, 2018 00:08 AM
According to reports this week, film authorities in China have denied the release of 'Christopher Robin: The Winnie the Pooh' film throughout the country.
Though there have been no further explanation or reasons on why the film has been restricted to enter the country, it is believed that the film is said to be part of a nationwide clampdown on references to the beloved children's character.
Prior to the movie's release, Chinese authorities have been blocking images of Pooh on social media since last year, after the AA Milne bear became a symbol of political dissent.
The issue comes after the Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been compared to the bear and internet memes about it soon spread social media.
The comparisons began in 2013 when an image of Xi walking with President Barack Obama was posted alongside a picture of Pooh walking next to Tigger.
Fast forward to 2014, a picture of Xi shaking hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shared along with a picture of Pooh with Eeyore.
As the memes grew popularity, Chinese censors began blocking images, GIFs and mentions of the bear across social media.
In 2015, a photograph showing Xi in a motorcade alongside an image of a Winnie the Pooh in a toy car was called "China's most censored photo" by political analysis company Global Risk Insights.
In June this 2018, China censored comedian John Oliver and HBO's website after the British talk show host ran a segment on his US show, Last Week Tonight, criticizing Xi and China. In the roast, he also mentioned the President's sensitivity to being compared to the bear.
However, Global Risk Insights suggests the censorship of Pooh bear may be occurring 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".
In contrary, according to Hollywood Reporter, China has an annual foreign film quota - currently set at 34 - and that the Chinese market is likely to be more interested in different films.
Disney's 'A Wrinkle in Time' was also denied a release in China earlier this year but 'Skyscraper', 'Mission Impossible: Fallout', and 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' are among Disney's offerings to open in the country.
'Christopher Robin' is a live action film starring Ewan McGregor as the leading role and tells the story of Robin reuniting with the honey-loving bear as an adult and rediscovering his playful imagination.
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