China rejects growing anger over the reported decision of the upcoming ‘Barbie’ movie to feature a map that backs Beijing’s contentious territorial claims.
The summer blockbuster, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, will be released later this month but is already banned in Vietnam for apparently featuring a map showing China’s claims to the South China Sea which, according to many, include the territory of other nations.
Asked about the controversy at a press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning dismissed Hanoi’s outrage.
“China’s position on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent,” the official said, adding that Vietnam “should not link the South China Sea issue to normal cultural exchange.”
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The nine-dash line shown on the map represents China’s claim to a large swathe of disputed waters, which are also disputed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan.
An international court in The Hague has declared the Chinese Communist Party card illegal. Beijing rejected the decision at the time.
The map’s inclusion in “Barbie” underscores the growing controversy over Hollywood’s reliance on China, which has vied with the United States for its biggest market in recent years. Film industry critics have accused studio executives of ignoring human rights abuses in Beijing to sell films there.
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The latest spin-off on “Barbie” and Warner Bros. also drew criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Cruz retweeted American Foreign Policy Council member Michael Sobolik’s attack on the Warner Bros. film. who accused the cinema giant of “folding[ing] the knee to the genocidal CCP regime to make money.”
“I guess ‘Barbie’ is made in China…” the senator added.
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Philippine lawmakers also signaled their disapproval of the reported inclusion of the nine-dash map, signaling that their country may follow suit by limiting the scope of the film.
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“If the invalidated nine-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie ‘Barbie,’ it behooves the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty,” said Philippine Senator Francis Tolentino. CNN Philippines.