Philippines-China relations

PH orders Netflix to withdraw ‘Pine Gap’ episodes with China’s 9-dash line

Sofia Tomacruz
PH orders Netflix to withdraw ‘Pine Gap’ episodes with China’s 9-dash line

PINE GAP. The Philippines has ordered Netflix to take down episodes of “Pine Gap,” a political drama.

Photo from Netflix website

China’s nine-dash line has been invalidated and struck down illegal by the 2016 Hague ruling the Philippines won over China

The Philippines ordered Netflix to take down episodes of Pine Gap, a political drama streaming on its platform and available to viewers in the country, after it showcased China’s nine-dash line, a claim branded as illegal by an international court ruling

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday, November 1, that it had lodged a complaint on the matter with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, which decided on  September 28, in favor of “the immediate pull-out of relevant episodes by its provider, Netflix Inc, from its video streaming platform.”

“After a thorough review, the Board ruled that certain episodes of “Pine Gap” are “unfit for public exhibition,” the DFA said in a statement. 

Details shared by the DFA on the MTRCB’s decision included findings that the appearance of China’s nine-dash line on Pine Gap “ is no accident as it was consciously designed and calculated to specifically convey a message that China’s nine-dash line legitimately exists.”

It added: “Such portrayal is a crafty attempt to perpetuate and memorialize in the consciousness of the present generation of viewers and the generations to come the illegal nine-dash line. Using the medium of a motion picture is but China’s unconventional approach to gain an upper hand in the territorial conflict in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.”

The MTRCB’s decision, the DFA said, stressed that “every instrumentality of the government, whenever presented with the opportunity, has the responsibility to counter China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea to assert the Philippines’ territorial integrity.”

The Philippines said it expected Netflix to comply with the MTRCB’s ruling. 

Aside from the Philippines, Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Malaysia have long rebuked China’s nine-dash line protocol which it used on its maps as an attempt to legitimize its claims over vast expanses of the resource-rich South China Sea, now considered to be one of the most volatile maritime areas in the world. 

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Beijing’s nine-dash line claim had been invalidated by the landmark 2016 Hague ruling which the Philippines won over China. The arbitral award also affirmed Manila’s sovereign rights and invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim of ownership. China, however, has refused to comply with the ruling. 

In 2019, the Philippines called for a “universal boycott” of the animated children’s film Abominable, which also showcased a scene where a map was sighted depicting China’s infamous U-shaped line in the South China Sea. The same film’s license was revoked in Vietnam and Malaysia. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.