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People are really upset that Netflix whitewashed one of China’s best known stories

Image: variety

Netflix has gone and done it again.

The streaming giant’s new series, Legend of the Monkey, has been accused of whitewashing after it was revealed to have a distinctly non-Chinese cast.

The series is a remake of a heralded Chinese classic story that dates back to the 16th century.

The original work, Journey to the West, centers around a Buddhist monk and three fallen Chinese gods, and is considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

So Chinese audiences were pretty ticked off that the new remake seemed to exclude Chinese actors entirely.

"Please respect our traditional Chinese culture," said one user on social media platform Weibo.

"Can we take a show like Harry Potter and turn it into a Chinese series for revenge?" one added.

"I really hate it when foreigners do not understand Chinese culture…and tamper with it," one user said.

"I’m starting a Beijing version of Romeo and Juliet," a user concluded.

Reactions on Twitter haven’t exactly been very warm either.

I can’t believe they are disrespecting the Monkey King like this oh my gawd ??? https://t.co/GrYVfSLJfu via @variety

— welp (@ClaraNgXOXO) April 25, 2017

Something’s missing from the cast of Legend of the Monkey King, based on the Chinese fable. But what ? pic.twitter.com/aPH5ggsSdB

— That’s McClearious™ (@syxseed) April 20, 2017

@wenleima There’s an angle you should have covered in the story on The Legend of Monkey – blatant whitewashing.

— James Scullin (@JamesScullin) April 20, 2017

However, some have also pointed out that Chai Hansen, who plays the role of Monkey, is half-Thai — and therefore might be inaccurate to brand the movie as a case of whitewashing.

Two of the other male characters also have Maori backgrounds.

The Journey to the West story has been a staple of Chinese TV and movie remakes for decades. In 1978, a Japanese studio released a retelling, titled Monkey Magic,that quickly became a cult favourite amongst Western audiences.

Image: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

A 2007 remake of "Monkey Magic"

In that series, the Buddhist monk was played by a female character, something that Legend of the Monkey has drawn upon.

Last year, The Great Wall was widely derided after Matt Damon was cast to play the protagonist in the film set in ancient China. It probably didn’t help that his character ends up saving the country, as well.

But while Chinese audiences were hardly offended by it — many offered the movie, and Damon’s casting, good reviews on social media.

This time, however, it appears a non-Chinese cast starring in one of China’s most famous literary classics, is not a pill audiences can swallow quite so easily.

Legend of the Monkey is set to air in 2018.