China denies entry to Disney's Winnie the Pooh film


Chinese censors have banned Christopher Robin, an adaptation of Winnie the Pooh ostensibly over many using the fictional character nationwide to take potshots at President Xi Jinping, The Hollywood Reporter claimed in a report.

While China provides no reason for the films it doesn't select for its theatres, it's an unlikely coincidence that it comes after opponents have likened the bear's appearance to Mr Xi and have used Pooh as a symbol of resistance.

The film, starring Ewan McGregor and a CGI Winnie the Pooh, aspires to tell the tale of recapturing childhood innocence.

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.

In June, HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver noted the Xi-Pooh connection and created a mock propaganda video that tweaked Xi's apparent sensitivity to the comparison.

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Last year, the bear disappeared from social media sites in China as it was blocked by sensors.

While the Chinese censor board has not furnished a reason for the film's denial, reports suggest that comparison between President Jinping and the amicable cartoon character, who has become a symbol of political dissent, might be the reason behind it.

Other memes of Xi Jinping as Pooh have also appeared online - and one of the leader on a motorcade alongside an image of a Winnie the Pooh in a toy auto was deemed China's most censored photo by political analysis company Global Risk Insights.

A picture showing Mr Xi in a motorcade alongside Pooh in a toy auto was named "China's most censored photo of 2015" by political analysis firm Global Risk Insights.

A 2014 picture of Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also been compared to Pooh and Eeyore.