Shopping website removes toy with controversial nine-dash line

By Ky Duyen   August 3, 2018 | 03:26 am PT
Shopping website removes toy with controversial nine-dash line
A toy map showing the infamous nine-dash line seen on Shopee's website. Screenshot taken on 21:00 August 1, 2018, before the item was removed.
Authorities had ordered that Shopee removes a toy showing a Chinese map violating Vietnam’s sovereignty.

The Vietnam eCommerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA) had demanded that e-commerce service Shopee Vietnam get rid of a toy map showing the infamous nine-dash line that China has used to illegally claim sovereign Vietnamese territory in the East Sea, also internationally known as the South China Sea.

The line claims 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer East Sea as Chinese territory. This claim has been rejected by the international community. It overlaps with claims by Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and violates Vietnam's water sovereignty.

iDEA, which functions under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has also required that Shopee and other e-commerce firms apply an online filter to block future items with content that violates Vietnam’s sovereignty.

It has taken 30 boxes of the toy for futher investigation.

"We have upgraded our filter with multiple levels to make sure the same thing won’t happen again," a Shopee representative told VnExpress, adding that the item has been taken off its website.

Shopee also promised that it would recall the product and refund customers.

The map, a toy for children to learn countries’ flags by putting them in the correct locations, got public attention after a mother in Hanoi discovered the nine-dash line on Wednesday and reported it to local media.

The map incorrectly shows Vietnam’s Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes (Paracel and Spratly Islands) as part of China’s territory, and a product description on Shopee said the toy would help children aged three years and up understand more about countries in the world.

The map was printed in English and Chinese without a Vietnamese translation.

The nine-dash line had caused an uproar in Vietnam in May when it was found on T-shirts worn by 14 Chinese tourists as they passed through immigration at the Cam Ranh International Airport in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

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