The upcoming “Barbie” movie and the K-pop girl group Blackpink have sparked outrage in Vietnam after maps displaying China’s controversial nine-dash line were used in promotional materials for each event.
The nine-dash line is a map used by China to demonstrate its sovereignty over the majority of the South China Sea. Several countries, especially Vietnam, disagree with the boundary.
The “Barbie” film was banned in Vietnam because it was revealed that a sequence in the film contained a map with the nine-dash line. The film was scheduled to be released in Vietnam on July 21, but due to the prohibition, it will no longer be screened in the nation.
The Blackpink performance, slated for October 23 in Hanoi, has also sparked criticism. The concert’s organizer, iME, is a Beijing-based firm, and their website included a map with the nine-dash line.
Social media users in Vietnam called for a boycott of the performance, and iME has subsequently apologized for the map. However, the incident has raised questions about China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The investigation into the map incident has been launched by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture and Information, demonstrating the seriousness with which the problem is being treated. The Blackpink concert and the “Barbie” movie controversy have prompted debate about the breach of Vietnamese laws and the necessity of honouring national sovereignty.
Concerns remain about the promotion and use of products or publications containing the nine-dash line in Vietnam. During a normal news briefing on Thursday, Pham Thu Hang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, admitted that Blackpink’s Vietnam event had become a “hot-button issue.”
“In Vietnam, the promotion and use of products or publications featuring the ‘nine-dash line’ is a violation of Vietnamese law and is unacceptable,” Hang stated.