One of the most beloved Disney characters may no longer be around at Shanghai Disneyland and it all has to do with a joke gone wrong. A report has come out that Winnie the Pooh and virtually all references to the “silly old bear” may be taken out of the park in Shanghai. That would include removing all merchandise, having no character meet-and-greet, and even giving two attractions brand new themes.
If this were to happen, the re-theming of the two attractions would be very costly, but there may be no choice. One of the attractions is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride and the other is a spinning teacup ride called Pooh’s Hunny Pot Spin, but they may soon see different characters and themes.
According to a report from Theme Park University, this could very well end up happening and it would all be at the command of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The president is not a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh and it is because of comparisons that have been made between the political leader and famous Disney character.
For many years, the people of China have mocked Xi by comparing him to Winnie the Pooh. It’s happened all over social media and it stems from a picture that first hit the net back in 2013 and it featured President Barack Obama taking a walk with Xi in China.
So I just found out that China banned Winnie the Pooh because this comparison photo feat. Xi Jinping and Obama went viral on Weibo. Lol. pic.twitter.com/RVmV6kBrIj— Santiago Arnaiz (@TiagoArnaiz) August 11, 2017
“Winnie the Pooh” is one of the numerous words and phrases that have been banned from social media and using them is even against Chinese law. If there is an attempt to use them on social media, a warning message will pop up or the words/phrases will end up being censored.
That image of Xi and Obama is from back in 2013, and the issue of Winnie the Pooh in China has been a problem since that time. After that picture first appeared, the images and insults became even worse and it led the social media censorship.
As time has passed, the ban has branched out more and become even larger. As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s Christopher Robin movie didn’t even end up getting released in China and sources state that it all had to do with Winnie the Pooh becoming a “symbol of resistance” to President Xi Jinping.
Now, Winnie the Pooh has been completely censored out of the brand new Kingdom Hearts 3 video game trailer in China. While the rest of the characters are still there and able to be seen, Winnie the Pooh has been replaced by a white cloud/spot.
The whole China-Pooh censorship has been going on for a long time. Back in August, China denied the release Disney's Christopher Robin because last summer, Pooh was considered a symbol of resistance. pic.twitter.com/AWe7ucbCNU— Tiffany™-kin Pie (@MissTiffanyL) November 21, 2018
A lot of people may wonder why Disney would actually remove a famous character like Winnie the Pooh who is loved by millions of people. The thing is, Shanghai Shendi is the company that runs and operates Shanghai Disneyland on behalf of The Walt Disney Company, and that may mean they have to listen to everything the Chinese government orders them to do. As of now, Disney hasn’t said anything regarding this matter, but they will likely have to soon.
For now, Winnie the Pooh remains in place for meet-and-greets, on merchandise, and as the main theme of two attractions at Shanghai Disneyland. If he’s going to remain there is something that only time will tell.