While the government gave no reason for the decision, a person told the magazine that past censorship of the bear had something to do with it.
The government has not completely banned photos of Pooh from the Internet, but it has restricted them. In 2015, the Financial Times reported, a photo of Xi waving at supporters from a parade car next to an image of Pooh in a toy car was named the most censored image of the year by Global Risk Insights.
Even images that don’t compare Pooh to Xi can face trouble. In 2017, according to the Financial Times, attempts to write “Winnie” in Chinese characters on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, were met with “content is illegal” messages.
“I’m not even sure it’s that strong a resemblance, to be honest. But the fact he’s annoyed about it means people will never stop bringing it up,” Oliver said.
“Trust me, Xi, if your face even remotely resembles that of a beloved cartoon character, the smart move here is to lean in,” he added.
China could also be passing on the film for less controversial reasons. As the Guardian reported, the country allows only 34 foreign films to play in Chinese cinemas each year.