Too late for MTRCB pullout of ‘Uncharted’
For including a scene showing China’s nine-dash line encroaching on Philippine territorial waters, the Hollywood action-adventure film “Uncharted” has been ordered pulled out of cinemas by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
The problem, however, is that there is nothing to pull out as the movie is no longer showing in local theaters.
“Uncharted,” a Sony film topbilled by actors Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, Sophia Ali and Antonio Banderas, was released in the country in February this year and had a run for about a month.
In Vietnam, another country embroiled in a territorial dispute with China, “Uncharted” was prevented from being shown in cinemas over the same map scene prior to its March 18 premier.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it requested the MTRCB to reevaluate and pull out the screening of the film in local cinemas because the nine-dash line image was “contrary to national interest.”
The MTRCB, in a response quoted by the DFA, said it had “ordered Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. to cease and desist from exhibiting the said motion picture, unless and until they are able to remove the objectionable scenes.”
The MTRCB further reported that Columbia has since complied with its order and has pulled out the movie from local theaters.
This is not the first time that the DFA sought to prohibit the screening of a Hollywood movie featuring China’s nine-dash line.
In 2019, it also requested the MTRCB to pull out the DreamWorks animated feature “Abominable” after a scene showed a similar map.
China has claimed massive areas in the resource-rich South China Sea, where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.
The government has renamed parts of the South China Sea that fall within its territory or exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as West Philippine Sea. An EEZ, as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), is an area of the sea in which a sovereign country has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including the production of energy.
“The nine-dash claim is contrary to national interest, which has been settled in the 2016 Arbitral Award. The Arbitral Tribunal held that China’s nine-dash line has no legal basis as its accession to Unclos has extinguished any of its rights that it may have had in the maritime areas in the South China Sea,” the DFA said.
“China also never had historic rights in the waters within the nine-dash line,” it added.
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands, issued a unanimous decision on Manila’s arbitral case against Beijing, invalidating China’s sweeping claims on the South China Sea.
Beijing still refuses to recognize the ruling, harassing vessels of other nations that enter its claimed territorial waters.
The Philippines has been a frequent victim of such bullying, preventing Filipino fishermen and other seafarers from plying the disputed areas within the country’s EEZ.