Disney’s Christopher Robin has been denied a release in China by film authorities. 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 last year.
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.
In June, the country started censoring mentions of HBO comedian John Oliver and HBO’s website after his show, “Last Week Tonight”, ran a segment criticising China and Xi, specifically, for the increasingly authoritarian policies of the Chinese Communist Party, which he leads.
The segment also mentioned the Winnie the Pooh jokes and Xi’s sensitivity to them. Disney has not reacted to the snub of the live-action/CGI film, which stars Ewan McGregor as a middle-aged British businessman and carries a PG rating.
Winnie the Pooh, the character created by British author A A Milne as a companion for an eight-year-old Christopher Robin, comes to life in the film to help his now-adult friend regain his imagination.
Apart from McGregor, Marc Forster’s Christopher Robin also stars Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael and Mark Gatiss. The film also features the voices of Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.
The film will release in India on August 10.