Some of the best buddies of our childhood has been Winnie the Pooh among others. Everyone loves this fatty-chubby-cute bear for his sense of humour, honey-craving, and of course, for his appearance. He is considered as an epitome of friendship among the children, in general. However, something unfriendly and controversial happened with Pooh’s mention. Soon, we were all going to see him on-screen, including his fans in China, but things have become a bit problematic now as China bans its release in the country. Here is what actually happened.
Chinese censors have banned the release of “Christopher Robin”, a new animated film adaptation of A.A. Milnes beloved story about “Winnie the Pooh” for the character’s comparison to President Xi Jinping. The Guardian reported on Tuesday that for the people across China, “Winnie the Pooh” has become a light-hearted way of mocking their President.
It all started when Xi visited the US in 2013. Xi and his former American counterpart Barack Obama’s image of walking together spurred comparisons to Winnie, a portly Xi, walking with Tigger, a lanky Obama. Once again, Xi, was 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. While, China provides no reason for the films it doesn’t select for its theatres, it’s an unlikely coincidence that it comes after opponents have likened the bear’s appearance to Mr. Xi and have used Pooh as a symbol of resistance.
A range of internet jokes, including memes and gifs of the honey-loving bear have been removed from the Chinese social media. As comparisons grew, censors began erasing the images which mocked Xi. The HBO website ‘owas’ was blocked last month after comedian John Oliver repeatedly made fun of the Chinese President’s apparent sensitivity over comparisons of his figure with that of Winnie. This segment also focused on China’s dismal human rights record. As per the Global Risk Insights, during a military parade in 2015, another comparison between Xi and Winnie became that year’s most censored image.