DHARAMSALA, Aug 7: China’s film authorities have reportedly denied a release to Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh film, Christopher Robin in Chinese theatres.
Christopher Robin premiered in theatres across the world over the weekend except in China. Though the Chinese authorities did not provide any reason why the Disney’s latest film was banned in China, it is believed that the film faced the axe from China due to Winnie the Pooh’s comparison to the Chinese President Xi Jinping, media reports said.
Apparently, Chinese authorities have been blocking images of Pooh on social media since last year, after the Milne bear became a symbol of political dissent.
The comparisons reportedly began in 2013 when an image of Xi walking with President Barack Obama was posted alongside a picture of Pooh walking next to Tigger and then in 2014, a picture of Xi shaking hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shared along with a picture of Pooh with Eeyore.
The comparison between Xi and the bear continued for years and Winnie the Pooh became a symbol of the Chinese resistance against the ruling Communist Party, prompting authorities to heavily censor the character, reports the BBC.
Hence the Chinese censors began blocking images, GIFs and mentions of the bear across social media as the memes grew in popularity, the report added.
A picture showing Xi in a motorcade alongside an image of a Winnie the Pooh in a toy car was declared “China’s most censored photo” in 2015 by political analysis company Global Risk Insights, the report noted.
According to the report, Global Risk Insights has suggested that the censorship of Pooh bear 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’.