Vietnam censors ‘Barbie’ movie over South China Sea map

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jul 3 (EFE).- Vietnamese authorities confirmed on Monday the ban on the film “Barbie” due to a scene in which the map of the South China Sea appears with a dotted line in the shape of a U representing China’s territorial claims to the disputed region.

“Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was scheduled to premiere in Vietnam on July 21, the same date as in the United States.

However, Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Film department within the Vietnamese Culture Ministry said the film would not be distributed in the country.

“We do not grant the license for the American film ‘Barbie’ to be released in Vietnam because it contains an offensive image,” said the Vietnamese official in reference to the map.

The U-shaped delimitation that covers almost the entire South China Sea (called the East Sea in Vietnam) appears on Chinese maps and is a source of controversy for Vietnam and other nations in the area with which the country is in conflict over full or partial sovereignty of the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

“Barbie” is the latest film to be banned in Vietnam for using the controversial map, after the animated film “Abominable” was pulled in 2019 and the action film “Uncharted” was censored last year.

In 2021, streaming platform Netflix also removed Australian spy series “Pine Gap” for the same reason.

In recent years, there have been multiple episodes of tension between Beijing and Hanoi over the incursion of Chinese prospecting vessels into Vietnamese territorial waters and the occasional harassment of Vietnamese fishing vessels by Chinese vessels.

Beijing claims almost all of this maritime space, where it has built facilities for military use on several islets, and which is also partially disputed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. EFE


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