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A planned screening of “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” in Hong Kong has been cancelled due to "technical reasons", according to the organiser's social media post on Mar. 20.
The British independent slasher film was supposed to be screened by Moviematic on the evening of Mar. 21 in conjunction with its eighth year anniversary, according to its earlier Instagram story.
It was scheduled to premiere in other Hong Kong cinemas on Mar. 23, according to HK01.
The horror film had a theatrical release in the U.S. on Feb. 15 and in the UK on Mar. 10.
As of time of writing, there is no information on whether it would be screened in Singapore theatres.
In its post, Moviematic apologised for the cancellation and said that it will be reaching out to those who signed up for the movie screening.
It expressed its sadness due to the distribution and publicity costs incurred.
Those who bought tickets will be able to receive a refund within five business days.
Tickets sales have been suspended.
According to Hong Kong's Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration, "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey" had been approved for screening and it was up to local cinemas to make their own screening arrangements, reported The Associated Press (AP),
However, cinema chains subsequently informed the distributor that they were unable to screen the movie, reported AP.
In 2021, Hong Kong pased a censorship law to “safeguard national security”.
As a result, films deemed to be “contrary” to national security will be banned from being screened or distributed.
Subsequently in 2022, two movies were not allowed to be screened during an international film festival held in Hong Kong because they were not approved by the authorities.
In 2020, China imposed a national security law over the special administrative region which gave Beijing wide-ranging powers to crack down on dissent.
The main character of the horror film, Winnie the Pooh, is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear conceptualised by English author A.A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard.
The bear has also been the source of memes that compared it to China’s President Xi Jinping.
In late 2022, the image of Winnie the Pooh holding a white piece of paper gained attention for its politically loaded symbolism to the "white paper" protests in China.
The comparisons started in 2013 when a photo of Xi walking with then-U.S. president Barack Obama was juxtaposed with an image of Pooh walking with his friend Tigger.
Xi Jinping and Barack Obama as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. China not amused http://t.co/WpOFcl56gO pic.twitter.com/kQzPBFLs8V
— Jeremy Barker (@PoppedCulture) June 17, 2013
In 2018, a live adaptation of the Winnie the Pooh series and content mentioning the cartoon character were banned by Chinese authorities.
It is important to note that however, Winnie the Pooh is only censored in China when used in political contexts, such as comparisons to Xi.
Top images via Unsplash - farel yesha & something magical
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