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Taiwan expresses regret over film's disrespect of its sovereignty

2019/10/23 15:13:54

Image from DreamWorksTV YouTube

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) The Ministry of Culture expressed regret Tuesday over a scene in an animated film that shows China's "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea, as well as a 10th dash drawn next to Taiwan, that the ministry said disrespects Taiwan's sovereignty.

In a written statement, the ministry responded to recent controversy sparked by the film "Abominable," saying that "Taiwan's sovereignty should be respected."

"Abominable," an animated film by DreamWorks Animation and China-based Pearl Studio, tells the story of a teenage Chinese girl who finds a Yeti on her roof and then embarks on an adventure to reunite it with its family on Mount Everest.

In a scene in the film, a map of the South China Sea is shown bearing the "nine-dash line," a U-shaped boundary line declared by China that claims much of the South China Sea as its territory.

The map also features a 10th dash, drawn in the northeastern waters of Taiwan, which is not a part of China's official claim in the contested area. Some Chinese mapmakers, however, produced maps with a "10-dash line" in 2014.

As China's claim to the South China Sea is contested by five other countries in the region -- Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- the film has ignited controversy since its release.

In Vietnam, it was pulled Oct. 14, 10 days after it hit theaters, with the Philippines following suit a day later. Malaysia has also refused to screen the film, after its demand for the scene containing the map be removed was rejected by the film's distributor, United International Pictures (UIP).

In Taiwan, the map did not attract much attention until Tuesday, when Tainan City Councilor Li Chi-wei (李啟維), a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, held a press conference to highlight the issue.

Li criticized the film for advertising China's illegal claim to Taiwanese territory.

He also called for the government to step in, saying that the scene containing the map should be removed before it is allowed into local theaters.

However, the Ministry of Culture said that since the removal of Article 26 in the Motion Picture Act, the government can no longer require films that "harm national interest or ethnic dignity" be removed or edited.

(By Sabine Cheng, Chang Jung-hsiang, Hung Chien-lun and Chiang
Yi-ching)
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