Taiwan Disagrees With Google Maps

    October 4, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The foreign ministry of Taiwan has objected to being referred to as a province of China on Google Maps. The government of Taiwan, which rules the island nation, has complained to search engine company Google about how Taiwan is represented on Google Maps. That product refers to Taiwan as a province of China.

Taiwan Disagrees With Google Maps
Taiwan Corrects Google Misconception

Editor’s Note:  Do you think Google intentionally labeled Taiwan as a province of China? Let us know on WebProWorld.

In a Reuters report, a spokesperson for Taiwan commented on the issue. “It is incorrect to call Taiwan a province of China because we are not,” foreign ministry spokesman Michel Lu said. “We have contacted Google to express our position and asked them to correct the description.”

Taiwan calls itself the Republic of China and has done so since the end of a civil war with China in 1949. However, the country is not formally recognized by the UN as a sovereign nation, and China has viewed Taiwan as a breakaway province for years.

Taiwan, of course, has disagreed with the mainland government’s view of the situation. That has led to tension between not just the two government’s but between the US and China as well. Meanwhile, the Taiwan Solidarity Union has urged citizens to email Google in protest.

Referring to Taiwan as a province could be just an innocent mistake on someone’s part at Google. But Google and other high-tech firms have faced accusations of being too compliant with Chinese Internet censors, and this could be viewed as a subtle bit of appeasement toward a country with a fast growing Internet market waiting to be tapped.

That market of over 100 million Chinese Internet users has become compelling enough to lead players in the search engine market to be very competitive. Microsoft continues to fight Google in court over its hiring of former Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee to run Google’s China operations.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.