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China bans Winnie the Pooh over comparisons to Xi

10 August 2018

In China, the authorities have been blocking images of the character on social media because of memes comparing Chinese leader Xi Jinping's appearance to Pooh's.

China's Culture Ministry declined to comment and referred questions to the State Administration of Radio and Television, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comparisons between Xi and Pooh first emerged in 2013, after Chinese social media users began circulating a pair of pictures that placed an image of Pooh and his slender tiger friend "Tigger" beside a photograph of Xi walking with then-US president Barack Obama.

Although no official reason has been given for Christopher Robin's banishment from China, which operates a strict quota on foreign film, the ban comes on the heels of "several Pooh crackdowns", says Sky News.

And despite being released around the world, fans of Winnie the Pooh living in China will not be able to enjoy watching the film.

The beloved Disney character has been viewed as the "symbol of resistance" in the country as it is being compared to the country's president, Xi Jinping.

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Last summer, government censors blocked all images of Winnie from the site.

Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney, has confirmed with Sky News that the film had been denied a China release.

"Taiwan's OhBear is dismayed at the ban slapped on his cousin Winnie's latest film by censors in China", it said, referring to its tourism mascot "Oh Bear".

The film will be released in Germany on August 16.

In Christopher Robin, the eponymous hero, now an adult, reunites with boyhood friend Winnie the Pooh and others including Eeyore the donkey and Piglet.

The government has not completely banned photos of Pooh from the internet, but it has restricted them.

China bans Winnie the Pooh over comparisons to Xi