TAIWAN: Google corrects map reference

Google's map service will remove the words "a province of China" in reference to Taiwan

Taipei Times
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Following protests from legislators and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) over the Google Maps service's reference to Taiwan as a part of China, the Internet search engine over the weekend removed the words "a province of China" from its map of Taiwan.

The description of Taiwan as a "province of China" used on Google's map service incurred criticism, with the TSU legislative caucus earlier last week launching a letter campaign and MOFA instructing its US representative office to ask Google for a correction.

Controversial

A Google Inc international affairs spokesman told the Central News Agency that since the purpose of the map service is to provide information on geographic location, removing controversial literature or explanations was a way for the company to improve its product.

According to Google's Web site, Google Maps provides users with data such as business locations and driving directions.

Protests

As Google originally refused to make the correction on the grounds that the description was consistent with international naming conventions, such as those followed by the UN, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen last Thursday said the ministry would continue to protest to Google until the mistake was corrected.

In a recent interview with the Voice of America (VOA), Vice President Annette Lu also lent her voice to the protests, and said it was essential that the Internet search engine make a correction and apologize.