Vietnam is revoking DreamWorks’ Abominable film license and pulling it from the cinemas, according to multiple media outlets such as Reuters and BBC. This comes after several Vietnamese took to social media to express displeasure over the “nine-dash line” shown on a map featured in the film, marking a resource-rich region in the South China Sea that China has unilaterally declared as its own.
This comes amid a sensitive time when the two countries are locked in a territorial dispute over South China Sea. In July, China has reportedly conducted an energy survey in waters controlled by Vietnam. The maritime region has historically been contentious, with countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia also making claims to parts of the sea in the past.
The film, which started airing in Vietnam on 4 October, is about about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti on her roof. It was jointly produced by Shanghai-based Pearl Studio and DreamWorks Animation. Championing the #BoycottAbominable movement, users on social media are calling out the show for the bias towards China and naming it as “propoganda”.
Abominable is Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio in a Hollywood/China co-production.
No wonder the map includes the 9-dash line under Chinese territory. This is not just a children's film. This is Chinese propaganda.
Just go catch Qcinema instead. pic.twitter.com/BEWzNa0aDU
— Kip Oebanda (@kipoebanda) October 14, 2019
Not matter how subtle it is shown in the film, it's still a misrepresentation. #BoycottAbominable
Vietnam blocks ‘Abominable’ film over South China Sea map https://t.co/UWQBSfpNKO via @scmpnews pic.twitter.com/okXUNuyOHa
— Bienterrupter #NeverForget #SOGIEBillNow (@BIENsays) October 14, 2019
— NicoATw 🇨🇵 🇹🇼 (@NicoATw) October 14, 2019
— Le Dang Huy (@huyle21) October 14, 2019
It is not the first time that companies have landed in hot water due to political sensitivities.
In August, Huawei Technologies copped flak from Chinese netizens for listing “Taipei (Taiwan)” when the default language on Huawei’s phones were set to traditional Chinese. On the other hand, when the default language is set to simplified Chinese, the smartphone lists “Taipei (China)” instead.
Shortly after Versace copped flak for listing Hong Kong and Macau as independent territories on a t-shirt, Coach and Givenchy also apologised for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries. According to images circulating on Weibo, a t-shirt in the Coach 1941 collection which featured a list of city-country pairs such as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Shanghai, China; and Los Angeles, United States, identified Hong Kong and Taipei as “Hong Kong” and “Taipei, Taiwan”. Meanwhile for Givenchy’s t-shirt, which also featured a list of city-country pairs, the company listed the territories as “Hong Kong, Hong Kong”, “Taipei, Taiwan” and “Macau, Macao”.
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