After Vietnam, the Philippines could be next to ban ‘Barbie.’ Here’s why

The Philippines might ban the upcoming Barbie movie due to a scene showing a map with China’s controversial nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

Tensions arise: The Warner Bros. Barbie movie roused a controversy due to a scene presenting a map implicitly reflecting China’s nine-dash line claim, which lays claim to the majority of the South China Sea, angering nearby countries.
* This territory dispute has prompted the possibility of the movie ban in the Philippines amidst fears of contravening its sovereignty.

Film under scrutiny: The Philippines’ Movie and Television Review and Classification Board confirmed that the Barbie movie is under review.
* While they didn’t indicate the reason or an estimated decision-making timeline, Senator Francis Tolentino of the Philippines has publicly called on the film regulator to block the film, due to concerns over national sovereignty.

Historical context: The territorial claims depicted in the film are contentious due to a ruling by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.
* This judgement rejected China’s broad claims over the South China Sea, stating they had no basis in international law.
* Despite this, China has disregarded the ruling, resulting in tensions with neighboring countries.

International impact: Vietnam’s National Film Evaluation Council has already banned all domestic screenings of Barbie due to the controversial map.
* This places Barbie among other films banned in Vietnam, including DreamWorks’ 2019 animated film Abominable, Sony’s 2022 film Uncharted, and the 2021 Australian spy movie Pine Gap.

Potential fallout: Senator Tolentino proposed editing out the map as a compromise, but this could risk angering China, where the movie has already been approved for release.
* According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie is expected to earn significantly more in China than in Southeast Asia, but the markets in Vietnam and the Philippines can generate between $5 million to over $10 million for a Hollywood hit.

View original article on NPR

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