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Philippines Objects to ‘Abominable’ Movie Map


The character Everest from the film “Abominable” appears on the red carpet on day three of the Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Toronto, Canada.
Philippines Objects to 'Abominable' Movie Map
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The Philippines has become the second country to voice displeasure over the film “Abominable.”

The Philippine foreign affairs secretary is calling on the film’s producers to remove a scene from the movie. The scene shows a map with a “nine-dash-line” that China adds to its maps of the South China Sea. The line suggests that almost all of the waterway belongs to China.

The new movie is a joint production of China-based Pearl Studio and the American company DreamWorks Animation.

The Philippines on Wednesday joined Vietnam in objecting to the film. On Monday, Vietnam banned theaters from showing “Abominable” in the country.

Both countries claim parts of the South China Sea. Other claimants include Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the government in Taiwan.

International court ruling

In July of 2016, an international court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ruled for the Philippines against Chinese claims to a large part of the sea. China’s government does not recognize the ruling.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin published his objections to “Abominable” on social media. He wrote on Twitter that the scene with the map should be removed. He said that people should refuse to watch the film, instead of the government banning it.

“Of course they should cut out the offending scene which will show displeasure better than if we unconstitutionally ban it as some suggest,” Locsin said.

He added that the Philippine film regulator should replace the scene with what he called “a hectoring lecture.” And he also called on movie lovers to avoid films from DreamWorks.

“For me, call a universal boycott of all DreamWorks productions from here on,” he said.

Abominable (2019) DreamWorks (Courtesy Image)
Abominable (2019) DreamWorks (Courtesy Image)


A spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte also spoke about the film. Duterte has generally sought closer ties with China. On Tuesday, the spokesman said the country’s film regulator should decide whether to ban the movie.

“Abominable” is a movie about a Chinese girl who discovers a yeti, an imaginary creature living on top of her house. The creature is known as the abominable snowman in the United States. The girl helps the yeti get back to its home on Mount Everest.

The Reuters news agency says the movie was released in the Philippines early this month, but is no longer being shown in large theaters.

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Neil Jorome Morales reported this story for Reuters. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

scene – n. a part of a movie or a play

regulator – n. an official or office that works for the government that controls a public activity and enforces rules

hector – v. to criticize or question in a threatening way

lecture – v. to tell people about an idea in a serious or critical way

universal – adj. relating to everything

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