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China won’t release ‘Christopher Robin’ because of Winnie the Pooh

Twinsies.
Twinsies.

Image: Left: lintao zhang/getty images RIght: Laurie Sparham/Disney

Winnie the Pooh may be a lovable star of the big screen, but that’s not stopping China from being petty as hell.

China’s film authorities have denied a release to the new live action Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While China does not release the official reason for any film denial, THR’s sources pin the decision on Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s dislike of being made fun of… by being compared to Winnie the Pooh.

See, Xi Jinping may have an iron grip on the rule of China, but the autocrat and the stuffed animal share a certain… likeness. Both look cuddly and round, and often have the same expression of contentment on their cherubic faces. 

It’s a comparison that Xi Jinping is not exactly fond of, and uses his censorship might to crush. 

In February, China censored a host of phrases and images from Weibo and WeChat after Jinping announced that he was abolishing the presidential two-term limit. That included the letter N (which symbolized infinity), phrases like “Animal Farm,” and, yes, references to Winnie the Pooh. The comparison even reportedly started to become a resistance symbol.

Now, apparently even seeing Winnie the Pooh on the silver screen had too much potential to inflame the masses against their leader through subtle animatronic shade. THR acknowledges that the decision may have been due to the quota system that China applies to foreign films — it usually reserves slots for big budget blockbusters, which, um, Christopher Robin is not. 

But we’d like to think it’s at least in part due to Xi Jinping’s thin fur. Erm, skin. We mean human, non-stuffed-bear fur, skin.

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