‘Christopher Robin’ denied release in China because of…Winnie the Pooh? - SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

‘Christopher Robin’ denied release in China because of…Winnie the Pooh?

Last week, Disney’s Christopher Robin was reported to have been denied a theatrical release in China, the world’s second-largest movie market, and according to sources for The Hollywood Reporter, a certain honey-loving bear might be the culprit.

In the past, China has censored terms related to Winnie the Pooh online because of Chinese internet users’ fondness for using Pooh as a stand-in for Xi Jinping.

Winnie the Pooh and Xi Jinping

Sensitivity in China regarding the bear’s visual resemblance to China’s political leader appears to show no sign of relenting. Two months ago, mentions of the British comedian John Oliver were censored on Weibo after Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight examined Xi’s recent rise in power and alluded to the memes of Winnie the Pooh. Shortly afterwards, HBO’s website was also blocked in China.

Censors have always been sensitive to depictions of the president and allusions to his policies. During the World Cup, a joke about Lionel Messi wanting “to be captain for three more terms” got its originator in trouble, as “three more terms” was a subtle reference to China’s removal of presidential term limits in March.

But some industry insiders have reasoned that there might be a more innocuous reason related to Christopher Robin denied release. In China, there is a quota that allows only 34 foreign films to be imported on a revenue-sharing basis. Not every studio movie can obtain those coveted spots, and A Wrinkle in Time, another Disney movie, was denied a release earlier this year.

China’s pooh-poohing of the Winnie the Pooh movie comes at a stressful time for Xi. The country has recently faced economic headwinds because of its trade war with the U.S., and according to news reports, Xi’s leadership has received some recent pushback from within the Communist Party.

Also see:

Peak Xi Jinping? Two essays, six years apart, offer perspective on Chinese president

Pang-Chieh Ho

Pang-Chieh Ho is currently an editor at Digg. She previously worked at China Film Insider as a newsletter editor and has been writing reviews on movies and pop culture since 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.