The military junta in Myanmar has reacted with dismay to a hit Chinese movie about scams and human trafficking in Southeast Asia, saying it has “tarnished” Myanmar’s image.
The thriller No More Bets depicts people being deceived to work with a scammer network in Southeast Asia. It has grossed 3.8 billion yuan ($520 million) and become the third most-popular film in China this year.
The movie does not mention Myanmar by name but its setting resembles the lawless northern reaches of the country, where Beijing says Chinese citizens are regularly lured or trafficked.
The Myanmar consul-general in Nanning, U Kyaw Soe Thein, recently held talks with officials in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region about the film, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
U Kyaw Soe Thein was quoted as expressing concern about “the tarnishing of Myanmar’s image”, noting that the Myanmar government had been cooperating with neighbouring countries including China in the fight against online crimes.
Thai tourism authorities have acknowledged that the film could make some Chinese travellers think twice about coming to Southeast Asia. But they say Chinese travellers have legitimate concerns about safety and security that all parties should try to address constructively.
According to a recent United Nations report, at least 120,000 people are forcibly employed in the cyber scam industry in Myanmar alone.
No More Bets has not been shown in cinemas in Myanmar.