Vietnamese website taunts Chinese drama fans with South China Sea quiz

The drama — The Story of Yanxi Palace — has attracted a huge following for its colorful depiction of Qing Dynasty-era politics. (iQiyi/Huanyu Film)
Updated 24 August 2018

Vietnamese website taunts Chinese drama fans with South China Sea quiz

HANOI: A Vietnamese website, which only works when users correctly answer a quiz about disputed islands in the South China Sea, has infuriated scores of television fans in China desperate to catch the latest episode of a popular Chinese period drama.
The drama — “The Story of Yanxi Palace” — has attracted a huge following in China for its colorful depiction of Qing Dynasty-era politics and the tale of a brave and plucky young concubine who outsmarts her rivals.
The first 56 episodes of the show are being aired for free on Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi, which holds exclusive rights to the drama. For a fee, iQiyi members can watch eight more episodes.
But a Vietnamese website somehow obtained extra episodes which have not yet been broadcast in China.
Chinese drama fans flocked to bomtan.org, which hosts online copies of Asian television dramas, only to be met with a challenge which pits patriotism against the insatiable urge to binge watch television.
The website, which did not appear to have rights to broadcast the drama, asks users to answer questions confirming their Vietnamese identity before the website loads.
“This service is for Vietnamese people only. Please answer the following questions: To which country do the Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) belong? Vietnam, China, Philippines or Japan?”
The only correct answer to the question, according to the website, is Vietnam.
The Southeast Asian country has long been embroiled in maritime disputes with China in the South China Sea, or “East Sea,” as it is known locally, and claims sovereignty over the Paracels, which the Chinese military currently occupies.
“This is nonsense!” said one Chinese drama fan, commenting on the Weibo microblogging platform. “Who gave Vietnam the courage to challenge China’s territorial sovereignty?”
“While stealing Chinese TV dramas, Vietnam has also stolen Chinese territory,” said another viewer.
The show’s official Weibo account released a statement on Aug. 20 asking other online streaming services to respect copyright, and to remove unauthorized copies of the drama from their websites.
A request for comment sent to a contact email listed on the Vietnamese bomtan.org website went unanswered on Friday. Copies of the drama had been removed from the platform.
The quiz, however, remained.


Fans praise Syrian vlogger as he cooks kabsa for Taal victims in the Philippines

Updated 19 January 2020

Fans praise Syrian vlogger as he cooks kabsa for Taal victims in the Philippines

  • He drove around the province to give away packed meals, including a 1000 chicken wings and Arabic dish kabsa
  • Around 80,000 people have been displaced since the eruption covered nearby towns with thick charcoal-like ash

DUBAI: A Syrian vlogger has visited communities in the Philippines who were affected by the recent volcanic eruption, giving out care packages and packed meals.

Philippines-based Basel Manadil, also known online as the “The Hungry Syrian Wanderer,” posted a video on YouTube of his recent trip to rescue centers around Taal Volcano, which erupted last week.

“When I first saw the news about Taal eruption, I immediately thought of the people who will be affected and will be needing immediate help,” the social media personality said on his YouTube account that has over 1.5 million subscribers.

Manadil, who has been living the Philippines for more than five years, distributed boxes of donations that included medical supplies.

Watch the vlog here:

He drove around the province to give away packed meals, including a 1000 chicken wings and Arabic dish kabsa, which he said he prepared for more than 10 hours.

“I never cooked before I left Syria, so my mom would be so proud once she sees this,” Manadil wrote on Facebook.

The Philippines remained on high alert days after the devastating eruption of the Taal Volcano, a famous tourist spot just 50 kilometers north of the capital Manila.

Around 80,000 people have been displaced since the eruption covered nearby towns with thick charcoal-like ash.