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China bans Pooh film amid President Xi comparisons

By Bethany Minelle, entertainment reporter
The latest Winnie the Pooh film - Christopher Robin - has been denied release in China.
The Disney live-action, which tells the story of author A A Milne's son Christopher Robin, will not make it into cinemas across the east Asian nation - the world's second-largest film market.
China bans Pooh film amid President Xi comparisons

Image:
Pooh helps Christopher Robin re-discover his lust for life
While no official reason has been given, China has previously had several Pooh crackdowns after the honey-loving bear was unfavourably compared to Chinese President Xi Jinping.Describing it as "one of our smaller films", Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney, confirmed that it had been denied a China release.
#Chinese government blocks meme that compares Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh and #Obama to #Tiger! pic.twitter.com/HsP0RQ03DA— Alfredo Medellin (@AlfredoMedelln) June 16, 2013
Despite the rebuff, Ms Taff said Disney was "happy with where it's at", highlighting the fact that the summer film is "one of the only family options going forward".China's refusal to release the film was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.The ruling Communist Party is highly sensitive to mocking depictions of its leader.
Capping off a ludicrous day in diplomacy- Abe as despondent Eeyore, Xi as sanctimonious Pooh trending on Weibo #APEC pic.twitter.com/bxtX2Z6M4N— Haidi Lun ??? (@HaidiLun) November 10, 2014
Government sensors have previously blocked images of Winnie the Pooh - who is called "Little Bear Winnie" in China - after bloggers used him to parody President Xi.Last month, HBO was blocked in the country after Last Week Tonight host John Oliver highlighted the strict censorship and made fun of the president's sensitivity over the comparisons.
A particularly widely-shared post, which first popped up in 2013, shows a photo of President Xi with former-US President Barack Obama alongside an image of Pooh and his friend Tigger.
China bans Pooh film amid President Xi comparisons

Image:
Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger catch some rays on the beach
The following year a photographed handshake between President Xi and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe received similar treatment.Currently, while searches for Pooh's Chinese name comes up with the result "20021 content is illegal!", his English name still throws up some results.Earlier this year, sci-fi film A Wrinkle In Time starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine, was also refused release in China.

China bans Pooh film amid President Xi comparisons

'Oh bother!' - China censors Winnie the Pooh
China is very sensitive about comparisons between its leader and the "bear of very little brain"

China's foreign film quota allows a maximum of around 34 foreign films to be imported into China per year.Christopher Robin stars Ewan McGregor as the grown-up titular character, no longer a happy-go-lucky child but a jaded luggage efficiency manager with a wife (played by Haley Atwell) and child of his own.
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With the help of digital re-creations of his old friends from the Hundred Acre Wood - Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl and Rabbit - he recaptures the joys of childhood.Christopher Robin will be in UK cinemas on 17 August.
news.sky.com
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