Tue, Oct 04, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan not a province of China, TSU tells Google

SOVEREIGNTY The Taiwan Solidarity Union called for the public's support in demanding an apology from Google Maps for listing Taiwan as a `province of China'

BY KO SHU-LING  /  STAFF REPORTER

This screen grab shows Google Maps' listing for Taiwan which raised the ire of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

GRAPHIC: TT

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus yesterday called on the public to write to Google to protest its listing of Taiwan as a "province of China" on its Google Maps service.

In addition to sending its own letter of protest to the US search-engine giant, the caucus asked the government to lodge a formal protest and request Google to clearly define Taiwan as "an independent state."

TSU caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓) said that Google Maps' definition of Taiwan as part of China was not only far-fetched but also unacceptable to the nation's people.

"Taiwan is an independent, sovereign state. Taiwan is not part of China," Huang said.

"Taiwan has never been ruled by China, nor has the Chinese government deployed any government functionaries or armed forces here," he said.

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

By listing Taiwan as a province of China, Google Maps is clearly succumbing to pressure from China to distort the international community's perception of the cross-strait situation, Huang said.

"It seriously sabotages the nation's sovereignty. The people of Taiwan should not allow China to spread such misleading information to the international community," Huang said.

TSU Legislator Tseng Tsan-teng (曾燦燈) said that the search engine's listing of Taiwan as a part of China has no basis in reality whatsoever.

"The public should condemn Google for belittling the nation's sovereignty. We simply cannot remain idle, because the nation's sovereignty is bound to be eroded inch by inch if we fail to take heed of China's petty political maneuverings in cases like this," Tseng said.

TSU Legislator Huang Chung-yung (黃宗源) said Google was providing false information and demanded a public apology from the search engine.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michael Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday that the ministry has sent a telegram to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, instructing the office to address a letter to Google to make a correction.

"Taiwan is not a province of China," Lu said.

David Wang (王建業), deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, said this was not the first time international Web sites or media outlets have included Taiwan as part of China's territory.

"Our stance on the matter is clear: It is something for which we have zero tolerance, and there should also be zero ambiguity about the nation's sovereignty," he said.

"Swift action must be taken to take care of the matter and set the facts straight," Wang said.

Tony Ong (翁桂堂), deputy director of the Government Information Office's International Information Department, said that many international media outlets deny Taiwan's sovereign status in order to gain access to China's media market, in which media operations are tightly controlled by the state.

"I encourage the public to inform government agencies of similar occurrences," he said.

Those interested in lodging an online complaint with Google can go to http://www.google.com/support/maps/bin/request.py.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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