Barbie movie gets Vietnam ban over South China Sea map

Vietnam has banned the upcoming Barbie film over a scene featuring a map depicting contested Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Vietnam is among a number of countries that contest China's claim to almost all of the South China Sea.

The film about the famous doll, which has already taken over social media, is due to release in cinemas on 21 July.

It is unclear which scene depicts what a senior official called the "offensive image" of China's nine-dash line.

The nine-dash line is used in Chinese maps of the South China Sea to show its territorial claims.

Beijing has been building military bases on artificial islands in the area for years and also often conducts naval patrols there in a bid to assert its territorial claims.

In 2016 an international tribunal in The Hague ruled against Chinese claims in the South China Sea, but Beijing did not recognise the judgement.

Film studio Warner Bros' Barbie is not the only production to be banned by Vietnam for featuring the nine-dash line.

In 2019, the DreamWorks animated film Abominable was pulled for the same reason. Three years later, the Sony action movie Uncharted also fell foul of the Department of Cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films.

Two years ago, Australian spy drama Pine Gap was removed from the Vietnamese market by Netflix, following a complaint from authorities.

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims in the South China Sea.

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