China bans Winnie the Pooh over comparisons to Xi

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The movie Christopher Robin, the latest adaptation of A A Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, has been banned in China, the world's second largest film market.

This all started in 2013, when memes suggesting China's president Xi Jinping looks like Disney's cuddly honey-addict started appearing on the Internet.

In 2014, a photographed handshake between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was matched with an image of Pooh gripping the hoof of his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore. In 2015, the Financial Times reported, a photo of Xi waving at supporters from a parade auto next to an image of Pooh in a toy vehicle was named the most censored image of the year by Global Risk Insights.

One image shows Xi Jinping standing next to Barack Obama, with a drawing of Pooh next to Tigger next to it (comparing Jinping to the bear and Obama to the tall, slender tiger).

China even censored Jon Oliver and HBO after the British talkshow host criticised Xi and mocked his sensitivity to being compared to the bear.

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The only other Disney film this year to receive a no-go from China was sci-fi film "A Wrinkle in Time".

China's foreign film quota allows a maximum of around 34 foreign films to be imported into the country per year.

The ban comes after the Marc Forster-directed live action film, which stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin, scored $25M at the box office on its opening weekend.

No reason has been given for the film's denial, but according to the Hollywood Reporter, it is because of China's censorship of Winnie the Pooh images that started past year.

While China's film regulator does not give direct feedback on specific movies, it has released regulations in the past that say it bars subversive themes, homosexual content and excessive violence.

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