- Warner Bros' "Barbie" is banned in Vietnam due to its inclusion of a disputed map highlighting Beijing-controlled areas in the South China Sea.
- The movie featured a map with the controversial "nine-dash line," a claim often used by China to illustrate its dominion over vast parts of the South China Sea.
- This isn't the first incident of such a ban, as Vietnam previously barred movies like 2022's "Unchartered" and 2019's "Abominable" for similar reasons.
Warner Bros' highly anticipated flick, "Barbie," recently found itself on the wrong side of a geopolitical landmine in Vietnam, state media reports, all thanks to a controversial map highlighting disputed Beijing-controlled areas in the South China Sea.
The live-action film that audiences worldwide have been waiting for inadvertently stepped into hot water, featuring a scene with a map that outlines the infamous "nine-dash line." This demarcation, for the uninitiated, is a touchy subject—it's used by China to stake its claim to vast tracts of the South China Sea, a move contested by numerous nations, including Vietnam.
If we rewind a little to 2016, this territorial squabble made its way to an international court in The Hague. Despite the tribunal rejecting most of China's claim to the South China Sea, Beijing decided to turn a deaf ear. It's worth noting that the South China Sea isn't just any body of water; it's a pivotal maritime trade route linking Southeast Asia's primary trading hubs.
Vietnamese filmgoers were ready to welcome "Barbie" on July 21, the same date as its US release, only to be disappointed. The contentious ban led to a swift vanishing act for "Barbie" from upcoming film schedules, as reported by state-run newspaper Tuổi Trẻ.
Adding a seal of authenticity to the newspaper's report, Vi Kien Thanh, who leads the Vietnam Cinema Department, confirmed the ban. This isn't a first for Vietnam either—it's worth remembering that the country showed the red light to other films with similar "nine-dash line" references, including Tom Holland's "Unchartered" in 2022 and DreamWorks' "Abominable" in 2019.
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