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Vietnam bans new Tom Holland film over South China Sea map

Vietnam has banned a new Hollywood film starring Tom Holland over scenes with a map showing Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea, state media reported Saturday. The action-and-adventure caper “Uncharted” shows a map featuring the so-called nine-dash line, which sets out Beijing’s expansive claims to the disputed waters, where Hanoi has rival claims. Sony’s movie, starring Mark Walhberg, Antonio Banderas and Holland had been set for nationwide release on March 18.

“During the movie review, the National Evaluation and Classification Council discovered that the image of the nine-dashed line appeared in the movie,” director of Vietnam’s Department of Cinema Vi Kien Thanh told the state-controlled Zing news outlet. “Therefore, this movie will be banned from screening.” On the film’s official Facebook page, Vietnamese users left comments decrying the map.

“Hoang Sa Truong Sa belongs to Vietnam!,” read one, referencing the contested Parcel and Spratly Islands. The long-running issue has been closely contested in the film world. In the 2018 romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians”, a scene featuring a designer bag with a map of the world showing the disputed South China Sea islands under Beijing’s control was cut in Vietnam.

A year later, Hanoi pulled the animated DreamWorks film “Abominable” from screens over the same issue, with Netflix also told to ditch episodes of its “Pine Gap” series last year over similar scenes. The South China Sea is home to valuable oil and gas deposits and shipping lanes, and several of China’s neighbors have voiced concern that it was seeking to expand its reach. – AFP

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