Google Maps again falsely depicts Vietnamese territory as China's: scholar

TN News

Email Print

Google's web mapping service has again falsely depicted Vietnamese territory as belonging to China.

In August 2010, Google Maps fixed errors that depicted parts of Vietnamese land territory as belonging to China, following a request from Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But experts say some of those errors were not corrected and in the latest error, Google Maps has followed China's un-founded claims to much of the East Sea, also known as South China Sea, on its Chinese-language web mapping page.

China's false claims to over 80 percent of the East Sea are often illustrated by Chinese propaganda in the form of the now infamous "U-shaped line," which China has placed on maps to encompass what it wrongly claims are it's territorial waters.

"Google's web mapping service committed an act that deserves to be condemned when its East Sea map shows the [U-shaped] line, which is a totally unreasonable claim by China," said Le Van Ut, a Vietnamese scholar at the Oulu University in Finland.

"In a debate with me, a Chinese associate professor showed the Google Map as indisputable evidence of his country's sovereignty over the East Sea," he wrote to Thanh Nien.

Ut said the U-shaped line on Google map has ten dots drawn from Taiwan to near the coast of Malaysia and Vietnam, encompassing Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

He said the line appeared only on Google's Chinese-language map.

"Google Maps has either unintentionally or deliberately supported China's bogus claim," according to Ut. "This has seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the water and islands," he said, requesting that the U-shaped line be immediately removed from Google's web mapping service.

Ut accused China of initiating a propaganda campaign in which the U-shaped line is placed on as many maps as possible to support its unreasonable claim over of a majority of the resource-rich East Sea.

Last month, a group of overseas Vietnamese scholars  strongly protested an article published by an American science journal that features maps falsely portraying most of the East Sea as belonging to China.

The July 29, 2011 issue of Science an international weekly science journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) carried an article by Xizhe Peng titled "China's Demographic History and Future Challenges."

The article included a number of depictions of the so-called "U-shaped line" that incorrectly described most of the East Sea as belonging to China.

On September 30, the journal issued a statement saying it was "reviewing our map acceptance procedures to ensure that in the future Science does not appear to endorse or take a position on territorial/jurisdictional disputes."

In the previous error on Google Maps, Vietnamese authorities asked Google to correct mistakes concerning the borderline between Vietnam and China in March 2010 .

In the map published by Google, many areas that belong to Vietnam totaling thousands of square kilometers were presented as belonging to China. The mapping mistakes can be seen from Apachai Town in Dien Bien Province to Quang Ninh Province's Mong Cai Town.

In August 2010, the Vietnamese Ministry of Affairs announced that Google Maps had re-drawn the two nations' borderline in the northern province of Lao Cai in an effort to fix its errors.

However, many remain unhappy with the corrections as the new borderline does not run along exactly as it should. Errors found in other parts of the Vietnam-China borderline outside Lao Cai have also not been fixed, critics have said.

More Society News