Taiwan protests Apple maps that show island as province of China

Google also labeled Taiwan as a Chinese province in 2005, sparking anger from politicians

Taiwan is demanding Apple revise its mapping software and remove a label that describes the island as a province of China, rather than as a sovereign state.

Taiwan's foreign ministry made the complaint to Apple, said an official on Wednesday. "The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval, and hope Apple will make the change," she said.

The complaint was lodged after local media reports said that users on the island had noticed the change in Apple's latest iOS and Mac OS versions. When searched, Taiwan is listed as "China province Taiwan" on the maps. The foreign ministry learned of it, and contacted the company.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

While the labeling may just be an innocent mistake on the part of Apple, the political status of Taiwan has long been a controversial issue between the island and mainland China. Following a civil war, in 1949 Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party took control of the mainland, forcing the nationalist Kuomintang government to flee to Taiwan. Both the island and the mainland have since maintained separate governments.

However, to this day, it remains a sensitive topic. China's government wants to reclaim Taiwan, while some citizens on the island support full national independence. Worries even persist that the political status of Taiwan could one day result in armed conflict between the two governments.

But it's not the first time a U.S. tech company has labeled Taiwan a province of China. In 2005, Google also sparked anger on the island when the company's maps listed Taiwan as a Chinese province. Now the company's maps simply call the island Taiwan, adding nothing more.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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