Thu, Oct 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Google defends map service listing


Google Inc, the most-used Internet search engine, said its description of Taiwan as a "province of China" is consistent with international naming conventions such as those followed by the UN.

Google faces protests from the government because of the description, which is used on its map service. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed its US representative office to ask Google to correct the listing.

"We rely on international naming conventions to find a consistent policy," said Debbie Frost, a spokeswoman for the California-based company.

She said the company hasn't yet been contacted by Taiwanese officials but is "eager to communicate with them to hear and understand their concerns."

Google doesn't yet have any operations in China but plans to open a research center there soon, Frost said.

"We hope Google will respect the fact that Taiwan is an independent state and not a province of China," a ministry official said.

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

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

The caucus also asked the government to lodge a formal protest and request Google to clearly define Taiwan as "an independent state."

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

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