The “Barbie” movie might blur a map of Chinese maritime claims and can be shown, the Philippine Movie and Television Review and Classification Board announced Wednesday.
Vietnam has already banned the film over a scene showing a map of the South China Sea with dash lines on the ocean. Vietnam claimed the map showed the nine-dash line, Chinese claims on the shoals, islands and lines of maritime control in what Vietnam calls the East Sea.
The nine-dash line cleaves close to the coasts of Vietnam, the Philippine islands of Luzon and Palawan, and the northeastern coast of the island of Borneo shared by Malaysia and Brunei.
The Chinese sea claims are as much an issue with the Philippines as with Vietnam. Since 2011, government agencies, including the MTRCB, have called the portion of the sea in the Philippines’ economic zone the West Philippine Sea.
As opposed to the Vietnamese authorities, the Philippines MTRCB determined that the map was cartoonish in nature.
“The review committee is convinced that the contentious scene does not depict the ‘nine-dash line.’ Instead, the map portrayed the route of the make-believe journey of Barbie from Barbie Land to the ‘real world,’ as an integral part of the story,” the MTRCB explained in a statement.
The MTRCB reiterated that it would not hesitate to ban films, such as 2022’s “Uncharted,” determined to show the Chinese sea claims.
While a 2016 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea tribunal ruled against the Chinese claim lines, the organization has no enforcement mechanism. The Chinese government doesn’t recognize its verdict as valid.
“Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, arrives in theaters in the Philippines on July 19.