Vietnam Bans ‘Barbie’ Movie Over Territorial Dispute With China

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Vietnam has banned the domestic distribution of the upcoming Warner Bros. film, “Barbie” over a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea depicted in the film, according to state media sources.

A scene from the upcoming film reportedly features a map showing a U-shaped “nine-dash line” typically seen on Chinese maps, illustrating the country’s claim to disputed areas in the South China Sea, The Guardian reported. The disputed areas include parts of the region that Vietnam considers its continental shelf, the outlet continued.

Despite competing claims to the region from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei and a 2016 ruling from The Hague that dismissed China’s claims to the area, Beijing has been constructing military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea for years, often conducting military patrols to boost its territorial claims, BBC News reported. (RELATED: China Allegedly Used Laser Against Coast Guard, The Philippines Say)

“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,” state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films, according to The Guardian.

“Barbie” is not the first film to raise objections in Vietnam over the depiction of the nine-dash line. In 2019, Dreamworks’ animated film “Abominable” was pulled from domestic distribution in Vietnam for a similar reason alongside Sony’s 2022 film “Unchartered.”

“Barbie”, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling,  is slated to open in theaters worldwide on July 21.