Vietnam pulls Abominable film over South China Sea map

  • Published
Bikers go past an empty space where a promotional poster for "Abominable" stood before being taken down at a cinema in HanoiImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Promotional posters for the film have been taken down

Vietnam has banned the new DreamWorks film Abominable from cinemas because of a scene involving a map illustrating China's claims in the South China Sea.

Abominable, about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti on her roof, is a joint China-DreamWorks production.

The map shows China's unilaterally declared "nine-dash line", which carves out a huge area in the sea that Vietnam lays claim to.

China and Vietnam have been locked in a recent standoff in the region.

The latest dispute started in July when China conducted an energy survey in waters controlled by Vietnam.

Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all make claims to parts of the sea.

What's in the controversial scene?

The film, jointly produced by Shanghai-based Pearl Studio and DreamWorks Animation, was first shown in Vietnamese cinemas on 4 October.

The controversial scene shows China's "nine dash line" on a map in the background.

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What has the reaction been?

Vietnamese viewers quickly spotted the map and started sharing screenshots on social media.

The government swiftly announced that the film was to be pulled from cinemas.

"We will revoke [the film's license]," Ta Quang Dong, deputy minister of culture, sports and tourism, was quoted as saying by the Thanh Nien newspaper.

Media caption,

In 2018, a BBC team flew over the disputed South China Sea islands in a US military plane

It comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries.

In August, police broke up a rare protest outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi over the latest dispute surrounding China's incursion into Vietnamese waters.