“Silent war” against illegal “nine-dash line”: Op-Ed

In the era of explosive media entertainment, there are countless cases where Vietnamese audiences are unwittingly “poisoned” by images infringed its sovereignty. Most recently, within just three days, several high-profile cultural and entertainment events faced bans or boycotts due to their association with “nine-dash line” images.
“Silent war” against illegal “nine-dash line”: Op-Ed
“Silent war” against illegal “nine-dash line”: Photo of Blackpink. (Photo: YG Entertainment)

With the support of multiple devices and social networks, such images have been made public using various artifices. They appear discretely in various scenes of the Chinese TV series "Flight to you" (Vietnamese title: Huong gio ma di), or seemly inadvertently on the website of K-pop music group Blackpink's tour organiser, and even in an unreal world in the “Barbie” movie where the nine dashes are divided into smaller ones.

As online shopping platforms are breaking boundaries, someone among us may also receive a parcel printed with the “nine-dash line” which cannot be seen when placing the order online.

Popularising and using publications and products with the "nine-dash line" in Vietnam are a violation of the law and are not accepted in the country, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang affirmed at a regular press conference in Hanoi on July 6, 2023.

“Silent war” against illegal “nine-dash line”: Op-Ed
“Silent war” against illegal “nine-dash line”: Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang affirms that Vietnam's position on the 'nine-dash line' has been clearly and consistently stated and reiterated many times. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)

Blackpink is the most popular third-generation K-pop group with great influence globally, playing a significant role in spreading Hallyu (Korean Wave) to the world.

There is no need to reiterate the appeal of Blackpink following the news of their tour in Vietnam at the end of this month. Of course, young people have the right to pursue their passions, admiration for their idols and aspirations for the most beautiful things. However, above all, national sovereignty remains the most sacred thing for each individual, which must never be compromised.

The most crucial thing is maintaining a clear view and high consciousness of national sovereignty, rather than accusing those who wish to attend the Blackpink show of "not loving their country."

From a legal perspective, the explanation on July 6 by IME Vietnam, the organiser of the Blackpink show, that the "nine-dash line" on the map on its official website was a “misunderstanding”, would create serious misinterpretation among the public.

A multinational entertainment company established in 2006 with 11 offices across Asia cannot be devoid of at least minimal research and understanding of the law in a market with a population of 100 million like Vietnam.

The press release saying the map has been used in its Asian regional website, and there is currently no separate website for Vietnam, or the promise that “IME will quickly review and replace inappropriate images for Vietnamese people” is an explanation in the way of “the tongue has no bones.”

In the case of the Barbie movie banned from screening by the Vietnam Cinema Department, the country’s censorship has generated positive effects in protecting national sovereignty.

Vietnam does not tolerate films with unclear views on territorial sovereignty, said Dr. Tran Thanh Hiep, Chairman of the National Film Evaluation Council.

Vietnam’s ban on the film’s screening, issued on July 3, has made headlines on foreign media like The Guardian, Variety, CNN and BBC. These actions have helped Vietnam convey a message to the world that the country does not accept China's claims in the East Sea, once again reinforcing Vietnam's legal position and its evidence in efforts against Beijing’s maritime claims.

Notably, in recent years, many cases where the “nine-dash line” images appeared and disappeared suddenly in games, movies and fanpages have been discovered by the public such as the Chinese-language websites of H&M, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, UNIQLO, and Chanel in April 2021, and the mobile phone game Purrfect Tale developed by BadMouse in August the same year.

This demonstrates the immense power of the Vietnamese online community and the heightened awareness of national sovereignty over seas and islands among young people, which is crucial in the context of information explosion.

Protecting national sovereignty over seas and islands is the responsibility of not only diplomats or soldiers, but also every citizen who should stay vigilant against any piece of information online. In the present context, it can be seen as a “silent war” on the information front.

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(Source: VNA)