Vietnam bans screening of Barbie movie over South China Sea map

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According to media reports on Monday, the upcoming Barbie movie has been prohibited from being shown in Vietnamese cinemas. The ban was implemented due to certain scenes that depict a map illustrating China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Previous instances of portraying the “nine-dash line” have created issues for numerous films and television series in Vietnam. According to state media reports on Monday, Vietnam has decided to prohibit the forthcoming Barbie movie from being shown in cinemas. The ban comes as a result of certain scenes in the movie depicting a map that includes China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam argues that this depiction infringes upon its sovereignty.

For a considerable period, China has utilized the term “nine-dash line” to portray its extensive assertions over the majority of the South China Sea, an area abundant in resources. This has frequently caused dissatisfaction in Hanoi, which also asserts its territorial claims over certain portions of the same waterway.

The highly anticipated fantasy comedy film featuring the renowned doll, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was originally scheduled for a nationwide release in Vietnam on July 21st.

On Monday, Vi Kien Thanh, the Director General of the Vietnam Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, announced that the prohibition was determined by the National Film Evaluation Council.

A 2016 UN tribunal invalidated the ‘nine-dash line,’ but China refuses to recognize the decision. Consequently, Vietnam has banned the American movie ‘Barbie’ due to its inclusion of the disputed line.

Following a government decision to ban the film due to scenes depicting the controversial nine-dash line, state media reported that the movie’s showtime listings have been removed from the websites of Vietnam’s prominent cinema chains.