Netflix Removes Chinese TV Series Depicting Map with Nine-Dash Line
The Vietnam Cinema Department has instructed Netflix and FPT Play to remove the Chinese TV series “Flight to You” due to its inclusion of China’s nine-dash line, which violates Vietnam’s sovereignty. In a notice sent on Sunday, the department stated that it had reviewed all 39 episodes on Netflix and found the illegal nine-dash line appearing in several episodes, particularly in episode 30, and intermittently in episodes 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 38. The department highlighted that episode 18 even includes a character stating that “one day this map will go to many places in the world.”
The nine-dash line is a contentious issue as China uses it to make unlawful claims over significant portions of the South China Sea, known as the East Sea in Vietnam. However, this claim has been widely rejected and condemned internationally. Regarding FPT Play, the department noted that although the platform had blurred the map, the series still contains inappropriate content that violates Vietnam’s maritime sovereignty, making it unsuitable for distribution in the country. The department has ordered the removal of the series within 24 hours from Monday and requested a compliance report by Wednesday.
FPT Play has confirmed the removal of the series from all related sites and stated that it is awaiting further instructions from authorities. “Flight to You,” which premiered in China last year, is a romantic drama centered around young individuals working in the aviation industry. Vietnam has previously blocked numerous foreign movies featuring the nine-dash line. Recent examples include the ban of the film “Barbie” on July 3 and the action-adventure film “Uncharted” in March 2022. In 2019, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism also fined cinema chain CGV VND170 million ($7,193) for screening “Abominable,” an animated film that depicted the illegal map, for 10 days before removing it from theaters. Negligence by some officials in the Cinema Department resulted in reprimands. Additionally, in 2021, Netflix removed six episodes of the Australian spy series “Pine Gap” after Vietnamese authorities discovered falsehoods regarding Vietnam’s maritime sovereignty.