On Tuesday, March 21, the movie’s distributor in Hong Kong, VII Pillars Entertainment, announced the cancellation of the screenings startling the expectant viewers.
Events leading up to the cancellation
The movie was initially supposed to premiere on Thursday. However, the decision to reverse course was revealed on Monday when Moviematic, a local film organization that had planned a pre-release showing for the next day, declared it had to be postponed for “technical difficulties.”
According to The Guardian reports, the film’s distributor VII Pillars Entertainment, announced the cancellation of its premiere on March 23 on its Facebook page. It didn’t provide any more information to explain the situation.
Chinese censors targeted the film’s main character owing to memes comparing the clumsy bear to President Xi Jinping. When Xi visited the United States and met his then-counterpart Barack Obama in 2013, several internet users compared them to Pooh and Tiger. Others have utilized the image of Pooh, developed by English author AA Milne, to fuel dissent.
Authorities are eager to showcase Hong Kong as a thriving cultural center; thus, the latest cancellation comes as the city gears up to host the Art Basel contemporary art fair.
The administration of Hong Kong has yet to react to a request for clarification.
After the implementation of new censorship legislation in 2021, several movies are no longer permitted to be screened in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. As anti-government riots erupted in the city in 2020, China implemented a national security law in Hong Kong.
Two movies were removed from the Hong Kong international film festival last year because they could not obtain official permission.
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