After ‘Barbie’, disputed map sparks Netflix  removal of Chinese drama in Vietnam
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After 'Barbie', disputed map sparks Netflix removal of Chinese drama in Vietnam

Vietnam has ordered streaming giant Netflix and FPT Telecom, a local telecommunications company, to remove the Chinese TV drama Flight to You from their platforms. 

The move comes after the Vietnamese culture ministry’s cinema department deemed the show violating sovereignty laws for featuring a disputed map depicting islands in the South China Sea as non-Vietnamese territory.

The department, which had previously requested FPT Telecom to blur the map image, found that the drama still contained inappropriate content and scenes featuring China’s controversial nine-dash line in nine of its episodes. The companies were given a 24-hour ultimatum to remove the show from Vietnam-serving platforms.

This recent action marks the second time Hanoi has sought to restrict foreign entertainment within a week. Previously, Vietnam banned Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and Ruben Fleischer’s Uncharted, starring Tom Holland, due to similar concerns over the depiction of the disputed South China Sea map. 

The Vietnamese public has also witnessed instances of apologies and corrective actions from event organisers who inadvertently published the controversial map.

Despite the removal from Netflix and FPT Telecom, the Chinese drama is still accessible on Huace Croton TV Vietnam’s YouTube account with Vietnamese narration. Both FPT Telecom and Netflix confirmed compliance with the government’s request.

Vietnam has consistently taken a strong stance against any depiction of the nine-dash line, which is used by China to assert its claim over large portions of the South China Sea. The international community has widely rejected and condemned China’s claim.

In previous instances, Vietnam has banned films and imposed fines on cinemas for screening movies that featured the disputed map.