Google Maps Says Taiwan is Province of China, Sparks Protest

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Google Maps Says Taiwan is Province of China, Sparks Protest

Search engines have become hot property in the Chinese market with Google’s interest in Baidu and Yahoo handing over Yahoo China to foreign control for a share of Alibaba.com. But who was to think that a listing in Google Maps would spark an international protest from Taiwan, a nation-state in the eyes of some, a rebel Chinese province in the eyes of others. Quick Chinese history lesson; after World War II, when the Chinese Nationalists lost control of China because they were busy fighting Mao (who’s communist group was backed by the people of the country) instead of the Japanese, Mao and the Communists drove the Nationalists out of China where they ‘invaded’/retreated to the former Chinese province of Taiwan, which was also weakened from Japanese control.

The Nationalists of Taiwan were recognized as the true Chinese government by the United States until Kissinger, and then Nixon visited Mao on Mainland China and then recognized the Peoples’ Republic of China as the official Chinese government but still kept relations with Taiwan under the One China Policy. The Peoples’ Republic is awaiting its goal of total Chinese Reunification. After Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macao, the PRC believes that Taiwan is one of the last major pieces of the Reunification puzzle. Taiwan’s government disagrees.

Google has stirred the pot a bit more with their labeling of Taiwan as a province of China, taking the PRC’s view of One China and not considering Taiwan as a separate, independent country. If you search for Taiwan with Google Maps, Google provides this description above a map of Taiwan : “Taiwan, Province of China.”

Well, given the popularity of Google, there connections with China, and the fragility of Taiwan-Chinese relations, Taiwan has responded in protest according to Forbes;

Taiwan has protested to Google Inc for naming the island a province of China in its map section, a government official said. Foreign ministry spokesman Michel Lu said he is confident Google will change the reference despite possible pressure from China.

Describing Taiwan as a province of China ‘is not a fact. We have protested to Google and demanded (a change) and we believe it will correct this mistake despite possible pressure from the Chinese government,’ he said.

The pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) party has also launched a campaign urging its supporters to email their protests to Google.

‘Taiwan is an independent state, not a province of China. The only country in the world that thinks that Taiwan is a province of China is China,’ the TSU said in its protest letter.

Hmmm… I wonder which country’s world view Google will back in this case?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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