Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh film Christopher Robin won’t be shown in Chinese cinemas after the country’s film authorities denied its release, according to Hollywood Reporter on 3 August 2018.
No reason was given for blocking the movie from the world’s second largest film market, but Hollywood Reporter said it could be part of China’s crackdown on Winnie the Pooh images, which have been used to parody Chinese President Xi Jinping and become a symbol of the resistance in China.
It all started with a 2013 meme of Xi and former US President Barack Obama walking together, alongside an image of Pooh and Tigger walking together. The Chinese government has been blocking images of AA Milne’s beloved bear character ever since.
On 23 June 2018 Chinese authorities censored HBO’s website and John Oliver after the Last Week Tonight talkshow host commented on China’s extensive censorship practices regarding comparisons made to President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh.
Another reason for denying the release of Christopher Robin could be China’s foreign film quota, which is capped at importing 34 films each year, according to Variety.
The live action film stars Ewan McGregor as an adult Christopher Robin who reunites with his childhood friends.