Free Press Journal

China bans ‘Winnie the Pooh’ film over comparisons to President Xi Jinping

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Beijing: So, the Chinese government is petrified of Winnie the Pooh, a cartoon caricature? It would seem so, as Chinese censors have banned the release of “Christopher Robin”, an animated film adaptation of a story about “Winnie the Pooh.” They have apparently taken offence at the character’s comparison to President Xi Jinping. In fact, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ has become a light-hearted way for people across China to mock their President, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

It started when Xi visited the US in 2013 and an image of him and his former American counterpart Barack Obama walking together spurred comparisons to Winnie, a portly Xi, walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama. Xi was again compared to the fictional bear in 2014 during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took on the part of the pessimistic, gloomy donkey, Eeyore. As comparisons grew, censors began erasing the images which mocked Xi.

The HBO website was blocked last month after comedian John Oliver repeatedly made fun of the Chinese President’s apparent sensitivity over comparisons to Winnie. The segment also focused on China’s dismal human rights record. Another comparison between Xi and Winnie during a military parade in 2015 became that year’s most censored image, according to Global Risk Insights. The analysis firm said the Chinese government viewed the meme as “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”. “Christopher Robin” is the second Disney film to be denied a release in China this year, after “A Wrinkle in Time” was blocked.