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Vietnam bans ‘Barbie’ for running map showing China’s territorial claims

Authorities in Vietnam have banned commercial screenings of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ because it contains a scene that depicts a map with the ‘nine dash line’, a representation of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, reports ‘Variety’.

Vietnam has maintained that the line violates its sovereignty. Vi Kien Thanh, director general of the Vietnam Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said on Monday that the ban was decided by the National Film Evaluation Council.

“We do not grant a licence for the American movie ‘Barbie’ to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line,” said the state-run ‘Tuoi Tre’ newspaper, also citing Vi Kien Thanh, according to ‘Variety’.

The Warner Bros. film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, was set to have been released in the country on July 21.

Many of China’s neighbours, including Vietnam, have competing and overlapping territorial claims and strongly dispute China’s assertions, according to ‘Variety’.

In 2016, a United Nations disputes resolution tribunal in The Hague ruled unanimously against the validity of the ‘nine dash line’.

But, though the South China Sea arbitration ruling was final and binding, there are no clear mechanisms for its implementation and China has said it does not recognise the decision.

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