Netflix Removes Movie with Content Violating Vietnam's Sovereignty

Netflix has removed the six-part series "Pine Gap" TV series which has images that violate Vietnam's sovereignty over the sea and islands.
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Netflix removes movies with content that violate Vietnam's sovereignty and territory
Pine Gap is an international political thriller that was released on Netflix and broadcast on ABC in 2018.

The Department of Radio, Television and Electronic Information (under the Ministry of Information and Communications) on July 1 announced that Netflix, Inc. on June 30 removed Pine Gap, an Australian television series which had images infringing on Vietnam's sovereignty over the sea and islands.

According to VNA, the department on June 25 discovered the wrongful representation of Vietnam’s sovereignty in episodes of the TV series released on the digital movie platform within Vietnam.

Specifically, the image of a map with the illegal "cow's tongue line" in the Bien Dong Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) appeared at second and third episodes of the series.

Netflix removes movies with content that violate Vietnam's sovereignty and territory
The nine-dash line, claiming 90% of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer Bien Dong Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, has met strong opposition from the international community. Source: UNCLOS

The "cow's tongue line" or "nine-dash line" is a representation of China’s expansive claims in the Bien Dong Sea. The line itself is a collection of arbitrary dashes or dots without specific coordinates. China has not given any official explanations regarding its precise delimitation or legal origin.

This claim has been openly rejected by Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the US, and has been criticized by numerous international scholars. More importantly, the claim to historic waters within the line was rejected by the arbitral award of the South China Sea tribunal in July 2016. But China has disregarded the ruling and insists on the nine-dash line claim.

The appearance of false information about Vietnamese sovereignty in the above episodes of Netflix seriously violated the provisions of Vietnamese law.

Accordingly, Clauses 3 and 4, Article 9 of the Press Law along with Clause 4, Article 11 of the Cinematography Law prohibit the provision of information that incites war, infringes upon Vietnam's sovereignty and territorial integrity; distorting history; negating revolutionary achievements; offending the nation and national heroes.

The department immediately had sent a document to Netflix requesting it to comply with Vietnamese law as to broadcasting television services in the country.

This is the third time over the past 12 months that Netflix has been found to stream movies and TV shows with content that violates Vietnam's territorial sovereignty when providing services to users in the country.

Before that, a Chinese series "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" and American series "Madam Secretary" both had showed China's nine-dash line violating Vietnam's sovereignty.

Right at that time, the department promptly issued documents No. 1330/PTTH&TTĐT dated July 20, 2020, document No. 1665/PTTH&TTĐT dated August 28, 2020 requesting Netflix removed these movies.

Netflix removes movies with content that violate Vietnam's sovereignty and territory
A screenshot of "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" on Netflix.

With Netflix providing movies with images that violate Vietnam's sovereignty and territory for the third time in a row, the department on June 25 continued to request Netflix immediately removed movies and TV shows with content violating Vietnam's sovereignty.

In response to strict and tough warnings from the Vietnamese state management agency, Netflix on June 30 removed this movie from the streaming service in Vietnam.

Hollywood animation "Abominable" also was removed from Vietnamese cinemas in 2019 after viewers spotted China’s nine-dash line representing China’s fraudulent Bien Dong Sea claim in flagrant violation of Vietnamese sovereignty over it waters.

Vietnam has consistently affirmed that it has full legal basis and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over the two archipelagoes in the Bien Dong Sea, which is known internationally as the South China Sea. It has repeatedly asserted that all activities violating Vietnam's territorial sovereignty over the islands go against international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).

China seized the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has been illegally occupying a number of reefs in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands since 1988.

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