Malaysia pulls DreamWorks’ Abominable film amidst furore over South China Sea

United International Pictures Malaysia (UIP) has decided not to screen animated film Abominable as demands made by censors to remove a controversial scene in the movie could not be met. The scene features a world map showing the "nine-dash" line that is typically used by China to dispute its claims in the South China Sea.

UIP is the distributor of Abominable in Malaysia and the film is jointly produced by DreamWorks, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures and China's Pearl Studio. In a statement to A+M, UIP said that Universal Pictures "has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board". As a result, the film is unable to be released in Malaysia. Quoting Mohamad Zamberi Abdul Aziz, chief of the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia, AFP said Abominable can be screened in Malaysia on the condition that the map "which has become controversial, is removed".

In Abominable, a Chinese teenager aids a yeti in returning to his home and a scene shows a map that features the "nine-dash" line, which represents China's expansive claims in the South China Sea. Malaysia is not the only country to have axed the film. Vietnam also pulled the film while the Philippines is calling for the film to be axed.

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea has been ongoing for decades between China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, more specifically Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. According to multiple media outlets, China has staked its claim over the waters, which contain important shipping routes and is rich in resource.