Wednesday 5 July 2023

Vietnam Bans “Barbie” Movie As Hollywood Kowtows to China Using Map that Favors China’s South China Sea Claims


Image: Screenshot-Barbie Movie Trailer

Vietnam has banned Warner Bros’s new “Barbie” film, staring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, because of a scene shown in the trailer that features a map affirming China’s dubious claims to territory in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea has been an area of dispute between China and other countries for years. First appearing on a map in 1947, the U-shaped “nine-dash line” has been included on Chinese maps to mark claims over more than 80% of the South China Sea.

Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations also lay claim to the same area that is rich in resources and is an important trade route.

Image: Courtesy of Metro UK

Chinese warships and fishing vessels regularly patrol and operate in the area to establish dominance, including an incident Wednesday with the Philippines who accused China’s coast guard of harassment in the disputed area.

Reuters reports the claims include, “‘obstruction’ and ‘dangerous maneuvers’ against its vessels, after another incident near a strategic feature of the South China Sea that has become a flashpoint between them.”


The Guardian reports:

The U-shaped “nine-dash line” is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims over vast areas of the South China Sea, including swathes of what Vietnam considers its continental shelf, where it has awarded oil concessions.

“We do not grant licence for the American movie Barbie to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line,” the paper reported, citing Vi Kien Thanh, the head of the department of cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films.

On Tuesday, Fox News reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was dismissive of Vietnam’s position claiming,  “‘ China’s position on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent,’ the official said, adding that Vietnam ‘should not link the South China Sea issue with normal cultural exchange.'”

This is not the first time that the “nine dash line” has caused controversy in Hollywood. DreamWorks film  “Abominable” from DreamWorks and Sony’s “Uncharted” were also banned for appearing to support China’s territorial claims.

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