The Chinese government has denied Universal Pictures' family movie Despicable Me 2 for release in cinemas. A spokesman for the studio confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that the smash-hit movie would not be opening in the country, following the government's ban on the original movie in 2010.

Despicable Me 2One of the Minions Take Flight in 'Despicable Me 2'

Commentators see the decision as the country's attempts to "dampen enthusiasm" for feel-good imported movies. Which is crazy.

The film, featuring the voice of Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, has already been a huge success in Hong Kong ($3.2 million) and anticipation for reaching boiling point on the mainland.

The decision appears even more of an anomaly given the Beijing Youth Daily - the mouthpiece for the country's Communist Youth League - published an article on Tuesday noting the movie's box office success in the US. 

Despicable Me 2The Minions in 'Despicable Me 2'

The movie isn't the first film to fall foul of the Chinese government. In June, DreamWorks' latest effort The Croods, was pulled from screens two weeks early, allegedly because it was eclipsing domestic animated movies. 

In 2006, the Japanese manga movie Death Note was banned because it was thought to incite anarchy and insubordination.

In 2009, the 2D version of Avatar was banned because it was thought that its themes may lead audiences to think about forced removal, possibly inciting violence.

Strangely, Monster's University is confirmed to open on mainland China on August 23, according to the China Film Group's release schedule. 

Perhaps it's the Minions? Is it the Minions? Does China hate the Minions?

Watch the trailer for Despicable Me 2 trailer: