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Cut out 9-dash-line scene: DFA option to movie ban

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. said “crudely” cutting out a controversial scene in the animated movie Abominable showing a Chinese map with Beijing’s outlawed “nine-dash-line” features is a better response than simply banning the movie, an unconstitutional move that some quarters are suggesting.

Vietnam, which like the Philippines has maritime disputes with China, had earlier banned the movie. Manila, which, in July 2016, won a complaint it filed against China in an international tribunal, has been prodded to follow suit.

“Of course, they should cut out the offending scene which will show our displeasure better [than] if we unconstitutionally ban it as some suggest,” Locsin  said in a tweet in bold letters Wednesday.

He suggested that the film should be “cut out crudely,” adding it may be a good idea as well to “interject MTRCB head with a hectoring lecture. Then cartoon goes on.”

Earlier, Vietnam, one of the claimants in the tension-filled South China Sea (SCS), had yanked out DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable from their cinemas.

Abominable features a Chinese teenager helping a Yeti they named Everest to return to his home. This is a joint production from DreamWorks and the Shanghai-based Pearl Studio.

Tensions have risen between China and Vietnam since July, when Beijing sent a ship to conduct an energy resource survey within waters controlled by Vietnam.

The DreamWorks movie features a map that displays China’s unilaterally imposed nine-dash line claiming some 90 percent of the South China Sea. China’s historic claim to the resource-rich waters has been a point of contention among five Asian nations, which had encroached on the exclusive economic zones of the claimant countries.

While the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague had made it clear in its July 2016 ruling that it does not decide on ownership disputes, there is no legal basis for Beijing’s nine-dash-line claim.

The South China Sea has been described by some military expert as a powder keg that might explode in a full-blown war due to misunderstanding or miscommunication.

The United States and its allies have been conducting freedom of navigation operations in the SCS, claiming it is international waters.

President Duterte, in one of his speeches, had asked whether a country could claim ownership of a vast sea where trillions of dollars in commerce pass through every year.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said it is up to government censors if they will also pull the movie from Philippine cinemas.

Meanwhile, earlier reports quoted Locsin saying that short of an outright ban of the movie, Filipinos could instead mount a serious boycott of DreamWorks if it refuses to excise the controversial scene depicting the nine-dash line.

The upcoming films from Dreamworks Animation with their corresponding release dates follow:

Trolls World Tour, April 17, 2020;

The Croods 2, December 23, 2020;

The Boss Baby 2, March 26, 2021;

Spooky Jack, September 17, 2021;

Untitled Spirit Riding Free Film, May 14, 2021.

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