(The Hill) – Vietnam has banned the yet-to-be-released “Barbie” film from domestic distribution over a scene featuring a map that depicted China’s claimed territory in the South China Sea.
State-run media outlet Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Monday that the country’s film department had banned the movie because the map labeled as Chinese territory parts of the sea that Vietnam claims as its own, calling it “offending.”
China uses a nine-dash, U-shaped, line to illustrate its claims over vast areas of the South China Sea. This includes areas where Vietnam claims its continental shelf sits, according to Reuters.
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The highly-anticipated film, starring Margot Robbie, Issa Rae, and Ryan Gosling, was originally slated to premiere in Vietnam on July 21, the same date as the U.S. release, according to Tuoi Tre.
“We do not grant license for the American movie ‘Barbie’ to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line,” Vi Kien Thanh, the head of Vietnam’s Department of Cinema, said in a statement.
This is just the latest example in which Vietnam has banned a film for its depiction of the South China Sea. The nine-dash line from China was rejected by an international arbitration ruling by a Netherlands court in 2016 but China has refused to accept the court’s ruling, Reuters reported.
Vietnamese officials pulled DreamWorks’ animated film “Abominable” in 2019 and banned the viewing of Sony’s action movie “Unchartered” last year for to the same reason.