Israel REMOVED from major map platforms in China; Beijing denies doing so
By Belle Carter // Nov 06, 2023

Israel has been removed from two major map platforms in China, while its neighboring countries remain – something Beijing denies.

Sequoia Capital partner Shaun Maguire pointed this out in a post on X, formerly Twitter. He shared an image of online world maps from Baidu and Alibaba's Amap that did not explicitly demarcate Israel as a country. "Neighboring countries are still named Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, etc. If you zoom in on Israel, just city names," he wrote, calling the move a "major provocation from China."

The two websites serve as China's counterpart of Google Maps, where Beijing blocks access for its citizens due to its sensitivity to territorial matters. In the past, it has angrily challenged foreign platforms whose maps did not acknowledge their territorial claims.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) meanwhile dismissed the allegation that it had changed its stance on Israel's borders, saying that Beijing recognizes the country on official maps. "I believe you are aware that China and Israel have a normal diplomatic relationship," MFA spokesman Wang Wenbin told a Reuters reporter. "The relevant country is clearly marked on the standard maps issued by the Chinese competent authorities, which you may refer to."

According to Semafor, it is unclear if Baidu or Amap made any changes in response to the ongoing war in Gaza, as it may also be possible that people may be noticing long-standing features of the two platforms. The site made a review of the mapping services and it found that they did not automatically display labels for either Israel or Palestine. Amap does not label other countries either, and only names cities on its map.

"In the Middle East, Amap displayed several capital cities near Israel and Palestine such as Damascus, Beirut and Amman. But it did not demarcate Israel's Tel Aviv or the disputed city of Jerusalem, which were both displayed on Baidu Maps."

As per Baidu spokesperson Tony Peng, the company may not always display the names of smaller countries due to space constraints. "Users can find corresponding countries or areas on Baidu Maps by simply using the map's search function," he said. When Semafor tried searching for Israel, Baidu Maps did navigate to the country, though it still was not labeled.

Alibaba did not return a request for comment. Meanwhile, China has not officially condemned Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel and has criticized Jerusalem's actions in Gaza as "collective punishment" and going "beyond self-defense."

Beijing claims "vast territory" in a recently released national map

Last month, the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources released a new official map that showed land claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines – countries that have territorial disputes with Beijing – as belonging to China. Baidu Maps similarly showed the independent island of Taiwan as part of China. The U-shaped line on the map reaffirms China's claims to sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, a resource-rich and strategically important region through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year.

This new map version may worsen clashes in the area, said Donald Rothwell, a professor of law at the Australian National University in Canberra, who focuses on the law of the sea. Though other countries may object to it, now that the map has been approved by the Chinese government and published, the Chinese Navy and Coast Guard "will seek to assert Chinese sovereignty and jurisdiction based on the map," he told NBC News.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs stated that this latest attempt to legitimize China's purported sovereignty and jurisdiction over Philippine features and maritime zones has no basis under international law. It also called on China to "act responsibly and abide by its obligations" under international law, as well as a 2016 ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague rejecting Beijing's South China Sea claims.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) reiterated back in September that Taiwan is not a part of China. MoFA spokesperson Jeff Liu said: "No matter how the [mainland] Chinese government twists its position on Taiwan's sovereignty, it cannot change the objective fact of our country's existence." (Related: Taiwanese foreign minister expects China to manipulate the upcoming 2024 Presidential election in Taiwan.)

Watch this video about the prospect of China attacking the Philippines to bring America into another conflict.

This video is from the Worldview Report channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Shocking US Navy report shows China's shipbuilding capacity is 232x that of the U.S.

China now building an airstrip on disputed island in South China Sea.

Biden approves $345 million weapons package to Taiwan to support the island against Chinese invasion.

Sources include:

Semafor.com

Twitter.com

Haaretz.com

NBCNews.com

Brighteon.com



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