China denies entry to Disney film featuring Winnie the Pooh

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh symbol

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh symbol

Winnie The Pooh is not heading to the Middle Kingdom after Disney's Christopher Robin was banned in China due to sensitivities between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the honey-loving bear.

Jinping was compared to the fictional character again in 2014 while pictured meeting Japan's Shinzo Abe with the latter taking the form of Eryore. 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.

In June, the country started censoring mentions of HBO comedian John Oliver and HBO's website after his show, "Last Week Tonight", ran a segment criticising China and Xi, specifically, for the increasingly authoritarian policies of the Chinese Communist Party, which he leads.

Government censors has been erasing the images that mocked Xi on social media.

Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney, confirmed the film has been denied a release the Associated Press reported The move locks the release out from the world's second largest film market.

Christopher Robin with his longtime friend Winnie the Pooh.
Christopher Robin with his longtime friend Winnie the Pooh. Disney

China's foreign film quota allows a maximum of around 34 foreign films to be imported into the country per year. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Winnie the Pooh might be to blame.

The ban reportedly will not hurt the "Christopher Robin" film at the box office as the live-action adaptation, which stars Ewan McGregor as the title character, is expected to earn between $20-30 million when it premieres in the U.S.

No official reason for why the film was denied release has been given by the Chinese Film Board, but it could be because the famous creation of AA Milne, Pooh, has been juxtaposed next to Chinese leader Xi Jinping in viral memes shared across social media.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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