Vietnam requests Netflix remove K-drama over war ‘distortion’

Vietnam has asked Netflix to stop showing South Korean drama series “Little Women” in the Southeast Asian country, alleging the series distorted events of the Vietnam War, state media said Wednesday.

In episode eight of the 12-part drama, which is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, a war veteran from South Korea is seen bragging about the “kill-to-death ratio” between troops from his country and the Viet Cong.

More than 320,000 South Koreans were sent to Vietnam between 1964 and 1973 to fight alongside US soldiers.

They have long faced allegations that they committed mass killings of Vietnamese civilians.

The war veteran in the series, a Korean, tells one of the main characters in the show that “in our best battles, the kill-to-death ratio for Korean troops was 20:1. That’s 20 Viet Cong killed for one Korean soldier dead.”

He then goes on to say the ratio was even higher in South Korea’s favor among the country’s elite soldiers.

It is not known how many North Vietnamese soldiers were killed by South Korean troops during the war.

In a letter sent to Netflix, Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information said the series violated the country’s law against “distorting history, denying revolutionary achievements, offending the nation and the nation’s heroes,” according to Vietnamnet newsite.

The letter added: “The series conveyed dialogues between characters that praised the crimes of Korean mercenaries” during the war.

The streaming service was told to remove the show by Wednesday, state media said, although the series was still available to watch by the afternoon.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

Since 2020, Netflix has removed three series from its site in Vietnam after receiving complaints from local authorities over allegations of “violating the country’s sovereignty”.

Australian spy show “Pine Gap” and Chinese rom-com “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” were pulled from Vietnam last year and in 2020 respectively over scenes containing a map of the South China Sea showing Beijing’s claims in the flashpoint waterway.

US political drama “Madam Secretary” was also removed from the country in 2020 over a scene which captioned central Vietnam’s Hoi An ancient town as “Fuling, China”.

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