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Rampant violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty found on apps

Vietnamese people have been warned of the insert of Chinese unilaterally-declared map into apps.

An increasing number of cases violating Vietnam’s sovereignty has been found recently through a series of applications originated in China that are available online in a provocative manner, triggering public outcry.

The common phenomena is the availability of the nine-dash line that is a representation of China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea (called Eat Sea by Vietnam).

“Nine-dash line” is China’s unilaterally declared map in the Eat Sea where Beijing’s claim encircles as much as 90% of the contested waters.

Recently, local media has named a series of cases in which Chinese companies inserted the illegal map into apps that are available on Google Play and App Store.

 A game for kids inserting China’s unilaterally-declared map. Source: Zingnews

In mid-November, Vietnamese netizens found Beijing-claimed nine-dash line in a mobile game developed by Chinese firm Fuzhou Zhiyong Information Technology Co., Ltd.

This game reached more than one million downloads on Google Play and App Store before Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) demanded Google, LLC and Apple Inc. to remove the game violating the national sovereignty from the stores.

This game is included in a series of games for kids copyrighted by BabyBus Co., Ltd that also provides games in Vietnamese language, targeting Vietnamese users.

 DJI Fly app for drone operators using illicit nine-dash line. Source: Zingnews

On November 9, a member in a group of Vietnamese flycam users disclosed the illegal map in DJI Fly, an app for drone operators developed by DJI Technology Co., Ltd headquartered in Guangdong with manufacturing facilities throughout the world.

The app is available for both iOS and Android.

In April, authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Phu Yen found that a place in Phu Dong district in Tuy Hoa city was misnamed to “Phu Lam Golden beach, sandy South China Sea beach” on Google Maps.

 A map used for Facebook advertising wrongly depicted Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands as part of China


In mid-April, a map used for Facebook advertising wrongly depicted Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands as part of China.

The wrong depiction caused wrath among Vietnamese netizens.

 The ‘nine-dash line’ depicted on a map used in the default navigation app of a Volkswagen car on display at Vietnam Motor Show 2019. 


In November 2019, Volkswagen Touareg CR745J car from China, which was displayed at a motor show in Ho Chi Minh City, had a navigation app reflecting Beijing’s undefined nine-dash line.

One month earlier, Vietnam pulled DreamWorks’ animated film “Abominable” from cinemas over a scene featuring a map which showed the illegal map.

“Abominable” also became a regional row after being banned in Vietnam, condemned by the Philippines’ foreign secretary, and was not be released in Malaysia after its producers refused to remove the offending scene.

Recently, a Chinese movie on Netflix watching platform has been found to contain the Chinese vaguely located demarcation line.

The MIC’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information has expressed concerns over the rampant violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty on apps and mobile games, especially cultural items coming from China.

This is followed by a request sent to online game operators in Vietnam, asking them to keep vigilance on games and apps sourced from China to prevent violating elements inserted in a concealing manner.

Le Dinh Nhan, lecturer at FPT Arena University, said there should be a special agency that is capable of classifying and removing apps, that violate Vietnam’s sovereignty. He said artificial intelligence (AI) might help. Hanoitimes

Linh Pham

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