Barbie Movie Banned In Vietnam Due To South China Sea Dispute - Comic Years
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Barbie Movie Banned In Vietnam Due To South China Sea Dispute

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BY July 3, 2023

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, which has a release date of July 21, faces a problem after being banned from airing in Vietnam. The ban is due to a scene in the film where the map appears using the 9-dotted line. This would violate the sovereignty of that country, according to government spokespersons.

This measure is not so new in the world of cinema since several films have had similar incidents, such as DreamWorks’ Abominable. All this is due to the existing dispute between China and Vietnam, which in a certain way, is still in force since the government of the first country mentioned is still demanding the return of this space.

New Barbie movie Image via Warner Bros.

Barbie: Banned from Broadcasting in Vietnam

In an official statement, the Vietnamese authorities banned broadcasting the Barbie movie in this territory. The reasons given were that it has nine territorial lines on a map, an element used to represent China’s territorial claims in the Mediterranean Sea.

Vi Kien Thanh, general director of Vietnam’s Department of Cinema, announced the announcement. He stated that they banned the broadcasting of the film because they considered that it violated the sovereignty of their territory and their people by showing this type of map. He also added that the National Film Evaluation Council made the decision for this action.

The local press also published information on the matter. For example, the Tuoi Tre newspaper stated in its July 3, 2023 edition that the movie Barbie would not be broadcast there because it contains offensive scenes for the Vietnamese territory. In the publication above, we can detail the following:

“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.”

Barbie would be another movie the Vietnam government banned for showing the abovementioned map. One of these is Abominable, and there is also Uncharted, developed by Sony, which had a similar fate in 2022. There are also series that had restrictions on their transmission; for example, Netflix had to remove Pine Gap from that market. Other sagas such as Put Your Head On My Shoulder and Madam Secretary had to remove the map to be available in that country.

What’s the Problem with the Map Conflict for Movies?

If you’re wondering what the problem is with showing that map in Vietnam, it’s what it represents. The dividing line with nine dots implies that China claims that region as part of its territory. The dispute between these two countries over the region has been going on for years, generating a lot of tension, hence Barbie’s ban.

Barbie The Movie Image via Warner Bros.

Despite the fact that the UN had legally solved the problem already in The Hague in 2016, with a unanimous vote in favor of Vietnam. China recognizes neither the verdict nor the process itself and continues to claim this part of the world as part of its territory. In addition, the United Nations did not set out the steps to take to carry out this decision.

Barbie would have two options to lift the ban. The first would be to withdraw the film from Vietnam’s territory to comply with its requirements. The other is to comply with the request of the government of this country to withdraw this map, even in the edition that will premiere in this territory.

For now, Warner Bros. has not made any statements on the matter. Currently, only 18 days remain for the release of Barbie. Losing a foreign territory could be detrimental to their box office estimates.

Featured Image Via Warner Bros.

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