Update: Jul 11, 2021 2:43 AM STI
Singapore, July 11 (ANI): Growing hordes of online patriots have been increasingly active in defending Vietnam’s image abroad by reporting content they deem controversial and inappropriate, in particular the representation of the map of Beijing in “nine dashes”.
Dien Luong, in a Nikkei Asia opinion piece, said that Netflix, DreamWorks, Swedish fashion label H&M and Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan all recently found themselves caught in a crossfire of intense nationalist debates in Vietnam, the thread connecting each controversy being Beijing’s unilaterally declared “nine-dash line” that defines its vast maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The latest incident erupted last month when the Vietnamese Broadcasting and Electronic Information Authority demanded that Netflix remove Australian spy drama “Pine Gap” from its programming because the show “angered and injured the feelings of all the Vietnamese people “by presenting a card depicting the nine-dash line, on which Hanoi has long bristled, Nikkei Asia reported.
While Netflix has confirmed that the show has been pulled from Vietnam – âPine Gapâ remains available to subscribers elsewhere – Vietnamese authorities said they reported similar violations of the country’s sovereignty in two other Netflix programs over the past 12 years. last months.
Netflix is âânot the only offender. In October 2019, Vietnamese netizens spotted that âAbominable,â a film co-produced by DreamWorks and Pearl Studio of Shanghai, also showed a map that included the nine-dash line. The film was immediately ripped from Vietnamese movie screens.
In the Vietnamese cybersphere, anti-Chinese sentiment, fueled either by territorial disputes or by influence from Beijing, has been the main trigger for nationalist expressions, Dien wrote.
Over the years, Vietnamese authorities have come to realize that any attempt to suppress nationalism, especially anti-Chinese sentiment, only alienates the very public they need to consolidate support.
In this context, the Vietnamese authorities have shown a keen sensitivity to the nationalist sentiments expressed online, often using them to further their own agenda.
Nowhere was this dynamic more evident than the online backlash against Swedish clothing brand H&M and Hong Kong-born movie star Jackie Chan, Dien wrote.
In April, H&M went wild online after Chinese authorities asked the fashion retailer to correct a “problematic map of China” on its website.
Although it was not clear what the problem was with the map, in Vietnam it was quickly presented as a sign that H&M had surrendered to China using a map that included the nine-dash line, triggering boycott calls that ricocheted online and in state-controlled media.
In November 2019, Jackie Chan had to cancel a visit to Vietnam after a fury erupted online alleging he had spoken in favor of the nine-dash line.
All of these cases follow a strangely similar pattern: Despite a lack of convincing evidence, Vietnamese patriots online have been only too happy to pounce. Moreover, the Vietnamese authorities then used this nationalist sentiment to telegraph important messages to a wider international audience, Dien wrote.
Foremost among these messages is the fact that strong nationalist sentiment at home should not be taken lightly. Second, nothing is likely to spark controversy faster than appearing to validate China’s claims to the South China Sea.
Finally, even though the Vietnamese economy is eclipsed by that of China, in some cases winning over patriots online – or at least not ruffling their feathers – should be a critical consideration for companies looking to break into the Vietnamese market. , Nikkei Asia reported.
China claims most of the South China Sea, often citing its so-called nine-dash line to justify its alleged historic rights to the key waterway which is also disputed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei. (ANI)