HANOI (Bloomberg): Netflix Inc. and FPT Telecom stopped offering the Chinese romantic TV drama Flight to You in Vietnam after Hanoi said it violated sovereignty laws by depicting a disputed map showing islands in the South China Sea islands as non-Vietnamese territory.
The culture ministry’s cinema department said on its website that even after FPT Telecom blurred the image of the map, the 39-episode drama features inappropriate content, breaking Vietnam’s sovereignty laws.
The department said its review showed that China’s "nine-dash line” - a controversial map suggesting sovereignty over a wide swath of the contested South China Sea - is featured in various scenes in nine episodes.
It gave the companies 24 hours from Monday to remove the show from platforms serving Vietnam.
The move marks the second time in a week Hanoi has sought to restrict foreign entertainment.
The South-East Asian nation has already banned the movie Barbie last week and the film Uncharted last year, also over a disputed map of the South China Sea. Last week, the organizer of Blackpink’s Vietnam concerts scheduled for Hanoi later this month apologized for publishing the map on one of its websites and pledged to remove it.
The drama Flight to You is still available with Vietnamese narration on Huace Croton TV Vietnam’s YouTube account as of Monday morning.
FPT confirmed in an emailed statement that it removed the Chinese movie and said "we always fully comply with the regulations” when requested by government authorities.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the company removed the series in Vietnam after being contacted by the country’s regulators, adding "it remains available on our service in other markets.” - Bloomberg