July 6, 2023: Warner Bros’ “Barbie” movie has been denied in Vietnam, according to the government’s state media, after featuring a map that contained Beijing’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea.
The American live-action movie reportedly features a scene with a map showing the “nine-dash line.”
This is used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims to large parts of the South China Sea. Vietnam is just one of many nations that contest those claims.
The territory dispute was brought to an international tribunal in The Hague in 2016, resulting in a rejection of China’s claims to most of the South China Sea. But Beijing did not accept the judgment. The South China Sea is a vital trade route connecting the main arteries of trade in Southeast Asia.
“Barbie” was set to hit Vietnamese theaters on July 21, the same day as its American debut. Still, the prohibition has caused movie theaters to remove the feature from lists of upcoming films, according to the state newspaper Tuổi Trẻ.
Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Vietnam Cinema Department, confirmed the ban to the newspaper.
“Barbie” is not the original movie banned in Vietnam for including imagery of a map showing the “nine-dash line.” The 2022 Tom Holland film “Uncharted” was closed the previous year for the same reason as the 2019 DreamWorks film “Abominable.”