Why the new Barbie movie is banned in Vietnam
Territorial disputes with China have led Vietnam’s department of cinema to ban the new Barbie film from cinemas in the Southeast Asian country.
On 21 July, one of the most eagerly-anticipated movies arrives in cinemas around the world: the first ever live-action Barbie film.
The movie about Mattel’s iconic doll stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling - and is directed by Greta Gerwig, one of the industry’s most highly-rated directors - so it is being heavily tipped to be a box-office hit.
However, around 100 million people in Vietnam won’t get the chance to see Barbie, as the Southeast Asian country has banned it from domestic cinemas.
Vietnam bans Barbie over ‘nine-dash line’
The head of the Vietnamese department of cinema has explained that the ban comes down to the film’s depiction of a map that portrays China’s unilateral claims to disputed territories in the South China Sea.
In comments published by the state-run Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre, Vi Kien Thanh said: “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.”
Used on maps published by China, the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’ represents the Asian giant’s claimed ownership of territories such as the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam says come under its sovereignty.
The ‘nine-dash line’ was deemed unlawful by an international tribunal in the Hague in 2016, but China refuses to recognise this ruling.