'Barbie' movie banned in Việt Nam for containing China's nine dash line map

July 03, 2023 - 16:31
The movie was expected to hit screens from July 21, but cinema chains across the country have not included it in their upcoming screenings, sparking concerns of its availability.
Australian actress Margot Robbie meets fans during a pink carpet event to promote her new film “Barbie“ in Seoul on July 2, 2023. — AFP/VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — The highly anticipated movie Barbie will not be showing in Vietnamese theatres for scenes depicting China's nine-dash-line map that is considered to be a violation of Việt Nam's sovereign territory.

Vi Kiến Thành, head of the Department of Cinema, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, on Monday informed the media of the decision made by the National Council for Film Appraisal and Classification after a review of the movie.

The movie, directed by Greta Gerwig and featuring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was expected to hit the screen from July 21, the same day as in the United States, but cinema chains across Việt Nam did not include it in their upcoming list, even as July already started, which sparked concerns over its availability.

The nine dash line is an egregious, unilateral map by China that claims much of the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), including Việt Nam's two island chains of Trường Sa (Spratlys) and Hoàng Sa (Paracels).

Việt Nam has repeatedly stated its stance on the matter, saying it has sufficient historical evidence and legal grounds to assert claims over the East Sea and the two archipelagoes.

The Hague-based international arbitration court in 2016 announced its landmark ruling invalidating China's nine-dash-line claims over the East Sea, a ruling that Việt Nam welcomed.

Movie fans have expressed their regret on social media about not being able to see one of the most awaited films of the year in the theatres but remain supportive of the decision to reject the offending contents related to national territory and sovereignty.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, also with a scheduled theatrical release on July 21, is being delayed for about two weeks in Việt Nam pending appraisal from the national council, local media reported. — VNS