Netflix no longer offers the Australian spy series Pine Gap in Vietnam. The country had filed a complaint about the series over a map depicting the South China Sea as a Chinese property. China and Vietnam have had a territorial dispute over this sea for years.
The South China Sea is rich in fish, petroleum and natural gas and therefore of great economic importance. In addition to China and Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are also located on busy waters. As a result, there are regular skirmishes, sometimes resulting in casualties.
The controversial card is featured in two of Pine Gap’s six episodes. The Vietnamese broadcasting authority believes that Netflix “has hurt and angered the entire population of Vietnam”. The map shows a border drawing that China often uses to claim the South China Sea. This drawing cuts through parts of the sea that Vietnam also claims. The border drawing also appeared in the Dreamworks animation film Abominable in 2019, which was then taken out of Vietnamese cinemas.
According to the Vietnamese regulator, it is not the first time this year that Netflix “distributes films and series in which Vietnam’s sovereignty is violated”. Vietnam has already spoken out about the series “Madam Secretary”, in which a Vietnamese port city was used to portray a Chinese place.
Netflix emphasizes that viewers in other parts of the world can still see Pine Gap. The series can also be seen on the Dutch version of the streaming service.