Vietnam Bans ‘Barbie’ Movie: Controversial Map Sparks Tensions. Find Out What Happened!

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Vietnam Bans “Barbie” Movie: A Controversial Map Stirs Up Tensions

Recently, Vietnam made headlines as it banned the highly-anticipated “Barbie” movie from domestic distribution. The reason behind this decision stems from a scene in the movie featuring a controversial map that displays China’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea. Let’s delve into the details of this decision and the implications it holds.

A Disputed Map Causes a Movie Ban

The “Barbie” movie, produced by Warner Bros, features a map known as the “nine-dash line.” This line is prominently used on Chinese maps to showcase Beijing’s claims over vast regions of the South China Sea. However, this claim is hotly contested by many nations, including Vietnam, which refuse to acknowledge China’s territorial assertions.

A History of Territorial Disputes

The South China Sea has long been a contentious area, with Vietnam and China having overlapping territorial claims. This energy-rich region is vital for trade and serves as a major trade route for Southeast Asian nations. In 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s claims to most of the South China Sea, but Beijing refused to accept the judgment.

Movies Caught in the Crossfire

This isn’t the first time Vietnam has banned a movie for featuring the controversial “nine-dash line” map. In 2019, DreamWorks’ animated film “Abominable” faced a similar fate, as did Sony’s action movie “Uncharted” the following year. China’s territorial claims in entertainment content stir up nationalist sentiments and prompt swift reactions.

The Impact on “Barbie”

“Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, was set to release in Vietnamese theaters on July 21, synchronized with its premiere in the United States. However, the ban has led to the removal of the movie from lists of upcoming films in Vietnamese cinemas, leaving fans disappointed.

Official Confirmation and Verification

The ban was confirmed by Vi Kien Thanh, the head of the Vietnam Cinema Department, according to state newspaper Tuổi Trẻ. Independent verification of this information is currently unavailable.

Vietnam’s Stance on the South China Sea Issue

By banning movies that feature the contentious map, Vietnam aims to assert its sovereignty and stand against China’s territorial claims. This reflects Vietnam’s steadfast position in protecting its rights in the South China Sea.


Vietnam’s decision to ban the “Barbie” movie due to its inclusion of the disputed “nine-dash line” map highlights the ongoing territorial tensions in the South China Sea. As countries continue to navigate these disputes, entertainment and media often find themselves caught in the crossfire, facing bans and alterations to avoid political backlash.


1. Why is Vietnam banning movies with the “nine-dash line” map?

Vietnam’s ban on movies featuring the “nine-dash line” map serves as a stance against China’s territorial claims and a way to assert its sovereignty in the South China Sea.

2. Are there other movies banned in Vietnam for similar reasons?

Yes, movies like “Abominable” and “Uncharted” have faced bans in Vietnam due to their inclusion of the disputed map.

3. How does China respond to these bans?

China typically has a sensitive approach when it comes to how its national image and border claims are portrayed in entertainment. The country often retaliates against businesses or alters content to align with its nationalistic agenda.

4. What is the significance of the South China Sea?

The South China Sea is a crucial trade route connecting Southeast Asia’s major arteries of trade. It also holds vast reserves of natural resources, making it a valuable area for territorial claims.

5. Is there any hope for resolution in the South China Sea dispute?

Resolving the territorial disputes in the South China Sea remains a complex challenge. Efforts through diplomatic negotiations and international arbitration have been made, but a comprehensive resolution is yet to be achieved.