'Abominable': anger brews in controversial map row

Ben Arnold
Abominable (Credit: DreamWorks)

Anger is continuing to brew in the Far East around new DreamWorks animation movie Abominable, over a scene featuring a map with the disputed 'nine-dash line' in the South China Sea.

Earlier this week, Thailand said that it would be pulling the movie from circulation over the inclusion of the scene.

Now the Foreign Minister of the Philippines has called for the scene to be removed, while Malaysian authorities have said they will release the film, but with the scene cut, according to Reuters.

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The movie centres around a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti living on her roof, and with two friends journeys across the Himalayas to return the creature to its family.

During one scene, the map is shown in the background, in which the controversial territory is seen as being under Chinese control.

Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan all lay claim to their parts of the resource-rich area of the South China Sea, however, Chinese maps show a territorial claim using the so-called 'nine-dash line', or the ‘great wall of sand’ as it also known.

China caused a stand-off with Vietnam over the summer after it sent ships to perform energy surveys in the contested waters.

The action caused protests at the Chinese embassy in Hanoi.

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“The animated film titled Abominable... has been given approval for screening in Malaysia under the condition that the controversial map is removed from the film,” the Malaysian film censorship board told Reuters.

The inclusion of the disputed map is unlikely to be a mistake made by the filmmakers.

The movie, directed by Jill Culton and featuring the voices of Chloe Bennet, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson, is a co-production between DreamWorks and Pearl Studio, the parent company of which is part-funded by the Chinese government.

Neither DreamWorks Animation of Pearl Studio have commented on the matter.