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Vietnamese Government Orders Removal of Chinese TV Series due to Nine-Dash Line Dispute

The live-action movie “Barbie” has been banned in Vietnam due to a disagreement over the depiction of the “nine-dash line” map, which China uses to define its territorial claim in the South China Sea. Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries do not recognize this line. In addition, the Vietnamese government ordered Netflix and the local telecommunications company FPT to remove the Chinese TV series “Flight To You” from their platforms as it also featured scenes with the disputed map.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture’s Film Bureau claimed that although FPT had blurred the “nine-dash line” map in the TV series, it still contained “inappropriate content” that violated Vietnamese national sovereignty and film laws. The investigation identified specific episodes of the series, stating that they included unacceptable visuals, dialogues, and subtitles related to the disputed map.

The Vietnamese Film Bureau sent a letter to FPT, pointing out that despite blurring the map, the TV series had other unacceptable plot points and scenes that were deemed unsuitable for broadcast in Vietnam. Netflix and FPT were given 24 hours from July 10 to remove the series and submit a written report to the Film Bureau by July 12.

According to a Taiwan Central News Agency report, Netflix and FPT have already taken down the entire series in Vietnam. The series remains available in other regions. The report also mentions previous instances where the “nine-dash line” map caused controversies, such as its appearance on the official website of a South Korean concert in Hanoi and the ban of the Hollywood film “Uncharted” in Vietnam.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled at The Hague in 2016 that China’s claim to the “nine-dash line” lacked a legal basis and is not valid under international law.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), July 11, 2023