Bogus Chinese map prompts closer scrutiny of promotional travel brochures

By Huu Cong   October 20, 2019 | 05:26 am PT
Bogus Chinese map prompts closer scrutiny of promotional travel brochures
Vietnamese authorities have seized the travel brochure Saigontourist got from a Chinese firm which features China's nine-dash line, violating Vietnamese waters sovereignty. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen.
All HCMC travel firms have been asked to review foreign promotional materials after one was found using brochures with China's infamous nine-dash line.

City authorities recently discovered that Shanghai-based Hola China Company had given leading travel firm, Saigontourist Travel Service Company, brochures with China’s infamous nine-dash line.

Unwittingly, the Vietnamese travel agency had distributed them to customers.

The nine-dash line represents China’s fraudulent East Sea claims that flagrantly violate Vietnamese sovereignty over its waters.

The line claims that 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, belongs to China. The claim has been dismissed by the international community. It clashes with claims by Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, apart from violating Vietnam's sovereignty.

It also violates provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Article 56).

Travel businesses in Ho Chi Minh City are now strictly required to survey all their promotional materials on the web, in brochures and maps that they produce as well as those provided by partner companies, especially Chinese ones, before giving them to their customers.

"The travel brochures carrying the controversial nine-dash line were brought to Vietnam via tourism networks with very sophisticated tricks. This requires high vigilance from the authorities, the people and businesses," Vo Thi Ngoc Thuy, deputy director of the department of tourism, told VnExpress.

On Friday, the inspector of HCMC's information and communications department fined Saigontourist, a leading Vietnamese travel company, VND50 million ($2,200) for using brochures carrying China’s infamous nine-dash line.

The 100-page brochure featuring Zhangjiajie’s landscape in central China was given to some visitors when they came to Saigontourist office on Le Thanh Ton Street, HCMC's District 1 and asked for information about the place.

On the brochure, a line says that it is compiled by "Zhangjiajie Foreign Affairs and Tourism Committee" and the last page features a picture of the nine-dash line.

Vietnam has had to deal with several cases involving the nine-dash line recently. Last month, Chinese tourism brochures carrying the line were found being displayed by Chinese travel agency Hola China at the three-day International Travel Expo (ITE HCMC), promoting tours to Shanghai.

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