Chinese netizens call for boycott of Netflix Thai-language drama 'Girl from Nowhere' after social media post 'splits up China'
Published: May 18, 2021 05:03 PM
The previous poster and updated poster Photo: screenshot of Sina Weibo post

The previous poster and updated poster Photo: screenshot of Sina Weibo post

Chinese netizens' attitude toward Netflix's hit Thai-language drama Girl from Nowhere completely reversed after a post on the drama's official Facebook account went viral on Chinese social media for "splitting up China."

The drama's Facebook account published a promotional poster on Monday to thank audiences from different places where the number of viewers  of the drama ranked first. In the poster, flags from these places were listed behind the words "thank you" in that place's language like Singapore's national flag after the English "thank you."

But besides countries such as Thailand and Singapore, the list also included the island of Taiwan and Hong Kong Special Administration Region. The flags of Hong Kong and the Taiwan authority appeared on the photo at the same time.

The Cantonese for "thank you" was put before the flag of Hong Kong, while Putonghua for "thank you" in simplified Chinese characters was before the flag of the Taiwan authority.

The poster was later deleted and the account posted a new promotional photo without flags. In this version, the Putonghua version of "thank you" was writing in traditional Chinese characters. 

While the poster had been changed, the wording used in the post that went along with the image still put Hong Kong and Taiwan together with other countries such as Singapore. 

"Thank you for watching! Shortly after its release, Girl from Nowhere reached the top 10 on Netflix in many countries, ranking first in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, ranking second in Malaysia, and third in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan," the post said in Thai.

Hong Kong and Taiwan should never be equated to countries, and the text should indicate they belong to China, many netizens pointed out. "The official post splits up China! We should boycott the drama," one netizen wrote.

The first and second season of the drama revolves around Nanno, an enigmatic girl who transfers to different schools and has the ability to expose everyone's hypocrisy. The show has a high rating on media review platforms in the Chinese mainland.

Thousands of netizens have reviewed the drama and recommended it on social media to others, commenting that Nanno's revenge and punishment story is a great outlet for angry feelings and that the issues covered, such as school bullying, are all hot social issues.

Because of these recommendations, the drama has trended on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo for many times, but now it has lost the high public praise.

After the offending poster went viral, many Chinese vloggers who recommend film and TV works online announced that they have deleted all their videos covering the Netflix drama.

"I learned about the drama from a video clip that introduced it and was very interested in its theme. I have watched its first season and planned to continue watching the second one, but now I give up. The drama crossed the red line," a Chinese student studying in the US surnamed Li told the Global Times.

She said that no one should violate the one-China principle and that the production company should be more careful.