According to Senator Ted Cruz, the upcoming “Barbie” movie from Warner Bros is just one example of Hollywood films that have complied with the demands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by making edits to their content. Allegedly, American filmmakers have been making changes to their movies in order to meet the standards set by the CCP and maintain access to the Chinese market. Cruz and other lawmakers argue that these filmmakers are promoting CCP propaganda.
The specific concern with “Barbie” revolves around a scene that depicts China’s territorial claims on a map, which includes regions that Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines also lay claim to. This depiction is based on the “nine-dash line” map, which was invalidated in 2016 by a ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The ruling determined the broader ownership of these areas.
However, the CCP has never accepted this decision and continues to assert that all land and sea within the nine-dash line belongs to China.
Cruz claims that filmmakers intentionally utilized the outdated map to satisfy the CCP, asserting that China manipulates American filmmakers to control what the American public sees, hears, and thinks. Mediaite quoted the senator’s statement in which he accused China of exerting influence over US filmmakers. In 2020, Cruz introduced the SCRIPT Act (Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, and Protecting Talkies) as a response to this issue, proposing that companies altering their content to appease the CCP should face federal funding cuts.
The Chinese film market has experienced significant growth in recent years, but it has also used its leverage to impose stricter requirements on the content it allows. Filmmakers must adhere to the demands of CCP censors or risk losing the opportunity to access the Chinese audience, which could be financially detrimental.
Despite Warner Bros’ efforts to cater to the Chinese market, the decision to include the offensive map in “Barbie” has resulted in a ban on the film’s release in Vietnam, a neighboring country of China’s coastline.