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 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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  • Jim Rogers

    Taiwan sees themselves as the legitimate government of all of China. By the way, this includes Mongolia in their view. So, with their own view, Taiwan is indeed a province of China. It is the independence movement in Taiwan that has a problem with this Google situation, but they cannot get their bid for independence passes.
    Suggest that Google take the lead of the International Olympic Committee or some other internationally accepted organzation – accepted by both sides, that is. Then use those terms. Then, good luck keeping these politicians out of the mix.

  • John Adams

    Jim, good points. Will be interesting to see the dynamics here between GOOG and the Chinese.

  • Lee Pong

    Neither Taiwan not Tibet are part of China. Taiwan has its own defense and its own democratic elected president,but China only has dictatorship. Wake up man!. As for Tibet, Tibet was never part of the China, Tibet is not part of the China and Tibet wont be part of CHina.

  • Russell

    Tibet is a province of China. Mr. Lee, have you gone to Tibet? Have you ever seen the real situation there? I’m sure you haven’t. When you visit Tibet, you’ll find the fact that Tibet has always been a part of China is unquestionable.

  • aling lau

    it is true that the mainland China and TaiWan are part of republic of China by law in Taiwan

  • aling lau

    it is true that the mainland China and TaiWan are part of republic of China by law in Taiwan is part of China is correct

  • Sean Kao

    I’m from Taiwan. The truth is there’re two goverments.

  • Gelek Namgyal

    Dear Mr. Russell, I think you dont have a indepth knowledge of TIBET. Just watching a surface thing in Tibet doesent mean that you know all the thing about Tibet.
    I am not saying any thing what is wrong and right, I just wanted you to know the real situation by reading the fact. or study both the comment from China and Tibet and then come to the conclusion.
    It is my sincere request for you.

  • Alex zuo

    Tibet is a part of China,even Yanks wouldnt say no to that,Gelek,it is the common knowledge juz like 1+1=2,you dont need to be Einstein to understand the facts,why dont you go there and ask Tibetans yourself? cuz I did,I visited Tibet last yr during my summer vacation and then I came back to Australia and I knew why many ppl sayin’that “seeing is believing”sh*t,those shouting”Free Tibet”outside Chinese embassy are real idiots and they are financially supported by anti-China or anti-CCP groups like Falundafa or couple of political parties in the US and elsewhr.I bet ppl like you with no understanding of Chinese history would jump to a conclusion like that,that is,Tibet has never been a part of China.

    Go visit this site,founded by Chinese students in Australia and their Aussie friends,LEARN to accept the truth then you can should loud.

  • Alex zuo

    With all due respect,Sean from Taiwan,They got a government in Hongkong too,why wouldnt you say Hongkong is a sovereign country?cuz it aint!There is NO ROC today,ROC was erased from world map in 1949 then in 70th,with official recognition of PRC by the United States,the world’s only super power established connection with China on “sovereign”level upon One China policy in which the US gov’t has officially denied Taiwan’s independence multiple times.
    Google is doing a right thing,and it must be kept this way!!!sovereignty is not only important in China,thats why US wouldnt sell Alaska to Russians and Hawaii to Japs………

  • Alex zuo

    In fact,using law term to describe China and Taiwan,It’s the de facto relationship,not married but living together,legally recognised as married couple,gettin’approval is juz a matter of time.

  • Joe Baul

    Taiwan is indeed a part of China, according to CIA.

  • Greg Kimmi

    it doesn’t fu*king matter if you belive it or not,but billions of Chinese and many others DO believe Taiwan is part of China and they won’t allow Taiwan to declear independent.
    My wife is a Chinese and now I have 4 kids,among them,3 can speak Chinese.

  • Sarah

    Hey! Those who believe Taiwan is a part of China, why don’t you try to travel to Taiwan with a visa issued by Chinese government to see if it works. Only China believes “Taiwan is a part of China”.

  • Holysee

    That rule doesnt apply in Province of Taiwan,not like other countries,in China,you have to get a special visa or travel permit to visit places like Taiwan,Hongkong and Macao cuz in these cities(province),a self-governing system exists.
    BTW,Sarah,Are you Taiwanese or Chinese? if not,shut the F up and leave this dispute to us,okay?This is our civil,internal affair!!!!

    Go read some historical documents here at,an Australian government registered students organisation in Canberra.

  • Holysee

    part of China or no part of China ain’t that important,but NO foreign interference plz!!!We can handle this ourselves.Chinese ppl in both Mainland and Taiwan dont give a f**k what others think but our determination of reunification is what matters most!!!!!

  • Taiwanese

    臺灣是中國的一部分,Taiwan is a part of P.R.China 台湾は中国領土の一部である

  • Chinamanincanada

    screw you,if some people wont accept the fact thatTaiwan is part of China,then we shall use force to make you believe

  • one china, one Taiwan!

    1) Taiwanese people DO NOT want to be part of china.
    2) china (PRC) have not ruled Taiwan in all time and will not.
    3) If Taiwan is consider to be part of china due to its relationship in past with previous dynasties of china, U.S.A. may be called “province of England”.

    Many chinese might confused “nationality” and “race”. Most Taiwanese maybe mainly chinese in race similar to the multi-races it America, but it does not represent the nationality. The nationality for people from Taiwan is Taiwanese.

  • Chinamanincanada

    Ok,then her majesty shouldn’t have dismissed IRA,because N Irland is an independent country.

  • tito

    Taiwan,I mean the land is part of China.We don’t care the People who want that son of …be their “president”.
    Finally we will take the land back,even if it has been destroyed.

  • one china, one Taiwan!

    Well, comment #22, you are totally communist.
    It’s a world of democracy. Sure we do care what people of the land want.
    By you comment, I believe you enjoy communist china and its policy of “all under government’s control” with no “freedom by your choice” extremely.
    I hate to be rude, but comment #22, you are a joke!!

    In democracy/republic, people determine their future. Not the government. It is really not my place to make comment on IRA issue simply because my understand to the situation cannot be as true as the people who lives there; however, if PEOPLE OF THE LAND choose to be independent, they got to right to be independent; if PEOPLE OF THE LAND want IRA to be dismissed, IRA should be dismissed.
    PEOPLE rule themselves – Democracy.