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Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China 262

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reality-calling dept.
itwbennett writes "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. 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. 'The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval, and hope Apple will make the change,' an official with Taiwan's foreign ministry said Wednesday. This isn't the first time such a mistake was made. Google also labeled Taiwan as a Chinese province in 2005."
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Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

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  • by jfruh (300774) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:40AM (#45280153)

    Both the government of the People's Republic of China (which controls the mainland) and the government of the Republic of China (which controls Taiwan) believe that Taiwan is a part of China. The two just disagree about who China's rightful government is. I realize that over the past 60 years Taiwan has grown more and more self-contained and has become a de facto state independent of China, but in theory there's nothing either side should object to in portraying Taiwan as part of China.

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:55AM (#45280323)

    My wife was born in Taiwan. She and anyone in her family gets extremely angry if you refer to them as "Chinese," despite being ethnically Chinese, speaking Mandarin, etc. Good luck convincing her, her family, or frankly anyone else Tawainese I've ever met that they're "part of China" and that there is "nothing they should object to."

    That said, this is a result of using ISO codes instead of FIPS codes. We had a customer escalation come through a while back about Taiwan being listed as a province of China in our geolocation information. We had switched from a FIPS 10-4 source to an ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 source, which ad the side effect of pissing off our Taiwanese customers.

  • Re:Not a mistake (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:56AM (#45280331) Journal

    In theory they don't have to choose. They could show different things depending on which country the user sets the OS to.

    Given that Taiwan's standard script is "Traditional Chinese" script and most of China uses "Simplified", there is additional motivation for Taiwanese to select "Taiwan" for their OS. And the Taiwanese who set their OS to China[1].

    Hong Kong and Macau might use "Traditional" too but they can select the correct location if they want.

    [1] Note there's a diff between Peoples Republic of China vs Republic of China (Taiwan) etc. ;)

  • by slew (2918) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:32AM (#45280857)

    I suggest reading about the Treaty of San Francisco, Treaty of Taipei, and the Treaty of Shimonoseki before commenting about the Taiwan / PROC dispute...

    The current status of Taiwan probably most similar to that of Germany. Where Germany was divided up into 4 zones after the war (US, UK, France, Russia), Taiwan is apparently effectively a US occupied zone until its fate is determined. It was recognized as an occupied territory of Japan before/during the war, but required that Japan relinquish control of Taiwan (and other territories acquired before the war) as a penalty for pre-war territorial aggressions. However, the treaty never specified to which government it was to go to (mainly because of the civil war between the ROC and the PROC which happened at the end of WWII).

    The Treaty of Taipei (a separate peace treaty between Japan and the ROC, since abrogated by Japan when they recognized the PROC government), specifically ceded Taiwan to the ROC government. It's sort of a title to Taiwan that the ROC has waived around in the past, but it is unclear how the PROC ultimately winning the civil war affected the status of this document.

    The US is pretty much in a conundrum. It could probably legally cede Taiwan to the PROC under the theory promulgated by the Treaty of San Francisco (give the island back to the country had it before Japan took it, this is what the UK wanted to do), or they can do nothing and claim that this is an internal issue between the ROC and PROC governments (I believe this is the continuing official US stance since the treaty), or they might twist the treaty wording and assert that Taiwan has the right to self-determination (which is of course what the US wants to do, but is opposed by the PROC and probably is too far a twist from a legal sense).

    Originally, the US was sitting on its treaty status over Taiwan as part of a greater anti-communist sphere-of-influence policy. Now, it is probably merely attempting to get better terms for a PROC takeover by sitting on their hands until they get a deal that Taiwan is okay with. This has basically stalled because Taiwan doesn't appear that it would be happy with any PROC takeover (however, they are no-doubt looking at the Hong Kong 2-system situation with great interest).

  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:09PM (#45281359)
    Welcome to the pan green vs. pan blue dichotomy. Taiwan is NOT a monolith, people!
  • Re:Not a mistake (Score:2, Informative)

    by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:14PM (#45281413)
    Good idea. That's how the 'Persian Gulf' is labelled - in Arabic, on the Arabian peninsula side of the gulf, it's called 'Arabian Gulf' while on the Iranian side of it, it's marked in Farsi as the 'Persian Gulf'. (Although they could have renamed it to the 'Gulf of Islam' and made everybody very happy)
  • by GoCats1999 (936745) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:36PM (#45281743)

    Actually, just to clarify things a little bit more, and to provide at least some defense to the DPP... while it's true that one of the planks of the DPP is complete independence and autonomy from China, to say that the DPP is "crazy, independence fanatics" is a bit disingenuous.

    The majority of the DPP is actually pretty moderate, and while they philosophically would favor independence, they aren't willing to risk death, self-destruction, or losing favor in the international community in trying to do so. Similar to how the KMT tends to be pretty moderate when they look at the "100 year" view of some sort of reunification, most of the DPP is similarly moderate in having a "100 year" view of trying to establish a more definitive position of Taiwan's independent relationship to China and the rest of the world.

    Are there fanatics within the DPP? Absolutely. But the same can be said of the KMT. Both parties have minority factions that are a bit more radical in their philosophy and practice. In fact, if you do a quick google search for "Taiwan political assassinations" and you will find news articles over the past 8-10 years from assassinations and assassination attempts by and against members of both parties — with one attempt as recently as last year.

    And actually, analogizing Taiwanese politics to that in the US is actually pretty interesting, and one that I hadn't really thought of. Some of the more "crazies" in the DPP could very much be compared with the Tea Party faction of the GOP here in the U.S. — unable to compromise and a willingness to risk significant harm (e.g. government shut down, financial default, etc.) in the name of holding to core, fundamentalist principles.

    But by and large, just like in the US where a majority of both Republicans and Democrats tend to be more centrist/moderate in the name of finding common ground (maybe not publicly, but very much so privately), I would say that the majority of the KMT and the DPP favors moderation, especially with regards to their relationship with China.

    Yes, posturing can and will always be a part of politics, especially on the international stage. But the fact that not a single military artillery has been fired and not a single military causality has been suffered between the two nations in the 6+ decades of political tension should be telling enough.

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