Why was the Barbie Movie banned in Vietnam?

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why was the barbie movie banned in vietnam

Barbie, a 2023 US fantasy comedy film directed by Greta Gerwig and written by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, was banned in Vietnam, a country in Asia, over the South China Sea issue.

Vietnamese authorities have said that the film features images of China’s illegal nine-dash, which violates the maritime sovereignty of Vietnam. 

Why has Vietnam banned the film? What is the nine-dash line? Nine dash line is a dotted line that the People’s Republic of China uses when drawing its borders in the South China Sea. However, Vietnam and the Philippines disagree with the line. The South China Sea is known as the East Sea in Vietnam. China’s illegal claim on the sea has been rejected and condemned globally.

China published a map in the late 1940s, showing a U-shaped line, to claim the South China Sea. However, some of those land masses are also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines. 

In 2016, an international tribunal at the Hague said that China’s “nine-dash line” was invalid. However, the Chinese government had rejected the ruling. It claimed “historical rights” on the Sea.

Vietnam banned the movie “Barbie”, citing that the movie’s depiction of what appears to be “the illicit ‘nine-dash line’ violates the maritime sovereignty of Vietnam. 

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Cinema Department of Vietnam banned film because of the usage of “offensive political imagery.”

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Over the past few years, Vietnam banned various international movies and series containing images of the nine-dash line. 

Earlier this month, Netflix Vietnam removed “Flight to You,” a Chinese romantic drama, because it contained images of China’s illegal nine-dash line map. The Vietnam Cinema Department sent a notice to Netflix and FPT Play to remove the series.

Last year, Vietnam banned the film “Uncharted” over the portrayal of an illegal nine-dash line map. In 2019, “Abominable” was also banned due to the same reason.

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