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Chinese film criticized for distorting history

A Chinese TV series entitled “Ace Troops” has angered Vietnamese audiences for distorting history related to Vietnam's fight to defend the northern border in 1979.

Chinese social network Baidu recently released a trailer of "Ace Troops" TV series. Many Vietnamese viewers said that the film, which stars Xiao Zhan, Huang Johnny and Elane Zhong, has details related to the northern border war in 1979.

In the movie trailer, there are scenes featuring the Chinese army in close combat against people disguised by leaves, using AK submachine guns. The costumes used by Chinese actors in this film are similar to the uniforms Chinese soldiers wore when they invaded the Vietnamese border in 1979.

According to introduction, the timeline of this series spans from 1983 to 2019, when the main characters join the army, fight against the "enemy" and clear mines in Guangxi, a province of China bordering Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh of Vietnam. Many Vietnamese viewers questioned this timeline because it reminds the fight to defend the northern border of Vietnam in 1979. 

Many Vietnamese viewers expressed their anger and criticized this series for distorting history, to call the 1979 border war a "self-defense counterattack".


Phim Trung Quốc xuyên tạc lịch sử Việt Nam

The film, which stars Xiao Zhan, Huang Johnny and Elane Zhong, distorts history in 1979.

"History is forever true. This film falsely reflects information," wrote Facebook account Binh Van.

Quocviet82 commented: "I call for a boycott of the film because of national pride. No one watches this film and admits the lies."

Minh Khang - a Vietnamese student in China - said: "I admire Chinese culture, but my national pride doesn't allow me to listen to or watch such ‘trash’ products."

Vietnamese audiences have called for a boycott of this series.


Phim Trung Quốc xuyên tạc lịch sử Việt Nam
The uniforms worn by the Chinese military during the 1979 border war and the costumes worn by the Chinese actors in the film are the same.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang told a press conference on October 7 that the Vietnamese authorities had paid attention to information about the TV series "Ace Troops".

Hang affirmed that Vietnam's consistent policy on historical issues is to put aside the past, look to the future, view history correctly and objectively, and take practical actions to enhance understanding and friendship among people, contributing to friendly relations, cooperation and development among countries in the world.

"We ask China to strictly implement the common perception of the two countries' senior leaders on strengthening friendly and objective propaganda, and consolidating social relations that are favorable for the development of relations between the two countries", she said.

Previously, public opinion was outraged when the details of the cow's tongue line, which seriously violates Vietnam's territorial sovereignty, were included in Chinese films such as: Abominable, Go Ahead, Forever and Ever, You Are My City and Fortress and You Are My Glory.

Professor Nguyen Cong Ly from the University of Social Sciences & Humanities, Vietnam National University – HCMC, commented: “Using wrong information about history and politics in artworks is a deliberate calculation. When the so-called "cow's tongue line" is not recognized by the international community, they choose many channels, many other ways to spread it, and movies are the shortest and easiest way to do it".

Journalist and film critic Le Hong Lam said that China has always used "soft power" in recent years, including the fields of culture and entertainment, to promote their power.

“The films like Wolf Warrior, Operation Red Sea … and most recently Ace Troops show that China always wants to flaunt its military strength, although in my opinion it is very pompous and far from reality,” he commented.

Film director/producer Charlie Nguyen said he has not watched Chinese-language films for a long time. "I think the audience is very smart. When they see a movie and notice wrong details, they will immediately react and spread the boycott message in the community," he said.

Tuan Chieu - Thanh Nam

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