Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Apple

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

Comments Filter:
  • Not a mistake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:17AM (#45279831)

    It's not a mistake. China's market is far more lucrative than Taiwan's for Apple, and since they have to choose which one to piss off....

    • 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. ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by unixisc (2429386)
        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)
      • In practice, though, who they have to satisfy are the governments of the two nations, not the peoples therein.

        And government operatives read the news too.

      • by wisty (1335733)

        Yes, they do. It's like saying "You can put a nude scene on the disk, and lock it in countries where the censors won't approve".

        No .. you can't. Because someone will find a way to bypass your safeguards, and the censors will be angry. It's not a "cultural sensitivity" thing, it's a "this product will get banned from import" kind of thing.

    • Came here to say this...easy choice.

      Taiwan, just do what you usually do: Just keep quiet and let China believe they own you while you do your own thing.

    • Not necessarily, Google can perform the same trick as for the "Japan sea": for a long time Google Maps just removed the label: the sea had no name (Recently they gave it back to Japan...).
      • by Clsid (564627)

        That issue can be solved easily by using a regional system. So apart from locale, you can just follow national standards for things as defined borders, etc. For instance, in Google Maps in Argentina, you could see the Falklands labeled as Malvinas, while in the UK version you could see the Malvinas labeled Falklands. Same deal for the rest of places in dispute. No more controversy.

    • by msauve (701917)
      The Republic of China (informally, Taiwan) is taking this wrong. The RoC claims sovereignty over all of China, including the mainland. The PRC claims sovereignty over the mainland and Taiwan.

      Google is simply agreeing with both of them - it's one China. Let the governments sort out which one holds the legitimate claim to everything. Only if the RoC formally gives up any claim to the mainland will they have a complaint.
      • by cyfer2000 (548592)
        Agreeing, but one additional point, Republic of China also claim sovereignty over Mongolia. Here is a map of land and sea claimed by Republic of China. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ROC_Administrative_and_Claims.svg [wikipedia.org]
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:18AM (#45279845)

    The mistake is more important than one may think at first, because Taiwan is one of the places the navigator will take you through in the path from your home to the local grocery store.

    • by Pope (17780)

      Mine just says "Formosa." Isn't that a cheese?

      • by Guppy (12314)

        Mine just says "Formosa." Isn't that a cheese?

        It's a historical term from the Portuguese name Ilha Formosa [wikipedia.org], meaning "Beautiful Island".

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      When Apple was using OpenStreetMaps, couldn't map editors in Taiwan have done some edit wars to make it appear as they wanted?
  • If the map says Taiwan (ROC) is a nation, that will offend mainland China (PRC). If the map says Taiwan is a province of PRC, that offends Taiwan.

    Really, they're screwed either way.

    At $work, we are mandated to call ROC a "region". That's as accurate as we can go without offending anyone.

    • by stewsters (1406737) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:27AM (#45279987)
      Well, there is a solution to this. Apple maps is used on a device with gps tracking, so when you are physically located in mainland China you can say that Taiwan is a province of China, and when you are in Taiwan you say that it's a separate nation. Problem solved, everyone happy except fishermen using the app. But get a real waterproof gps if you are on a boat.
      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        When you are not in mainland China or Taiwan what does it say? I doubt Chinese government would accept that as they have a problem with Taiwan being displayed as a separate country to anyone in the world.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          you label it on chosen locale of the phone - that locale dictates what the countries are called anyways.

          it becomes complicated of course, since you have to eventually go as far as to check what every country the locale might be set to thinks about the issue.

          OR they could just go the easy way and say that they called Taiwan and they said they were a sovereign country and that be the end of that. eventually china has to concede that it's a different country, since you can do that call from china too. or what

      • Well, there is a solution to this. Apple maps is used on a device with gps tracking, so when you are physically located in mainland China you can say that Taiwan is a province of China, and when you are in Taiwan you say that it's a separate nation. Problem solved, everyone happy except fishermen using the app. But get a real waterproof gps if you are on a boat.

        Google and China are on "Fuck You" terms so I don't see why Google would bother making China happy.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Maps are never a fun job. Especially over disputed regions.

        Hell, Microsoft had the problem when they allowed people to select the time zone using the map [msdn.com] (as may Linux distributions do these days). There were huge fights over a few pixels.

        Google and China are on "Fuck You" terms so I don't see why Google would bother making China happy.

        Technically, Google is banned in China - so Google Maps doesn't even have to care. It's also why Android phones sold in China have to come with third party app stores because


    • If the map says Taiwan (ROC) is a nation, that will offend mainland China (PRC).

      Apple could have used GeoIP to give the politically correct answer inside China ... not sure if the great firewall is doing deep packet modification yet.

      I don't think anybody outside China goes to China first when dealing with Taiwan.

    • Just use Google's solution: "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."

    • by pmontra (738736)
      Yes. In my (little) direct experience with Asian politics Asia was always made of "countries and territories", not stating which one is what. Other areas of the world are made only of countries. Region is another safe choice.
    • Taiwan should just go to the UN and threaten to bombard China with Iranian nukes until the UN acknowledges them as a sovereign nation.

      Really this dispute is so stupid that at this point I'd just launch every ICBM in Taiwan at Shanghai so we don't have to deal with it anymore.

    • This (multiplied by everywhere else in the world where there are similar territorial disputes) is why the time zone tool in Windows mo longer shows a map.
  • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:27AM (#45280009) Journal

    Because the PRC has a billion potential customers who think Taiwan is a province of mainland China.

    • by neonKow (1239288) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:39AM (#45280143) Journal

      Correction: nobody actually thinks that. It's just the official government policy to refer to it that way.

      • Correction: nobody actually thinks that.

        Oh, yes, they do. The Chinese government very definitely regards Taiwan as one of its provinces. Temporarily not under its control, of course, but rejoining the mainland is inevitable. I'm not saying that's true, or right, but there's no doubt they regard it that way.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          ROC government headquartered in Taiwan thinks exactly the same thing. Mainland China is simply temporarily not under its control. Both governments view entirety of China, including mainland and island of Taiwan as their territory.

          • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:06PM (#45281331)

            ROC government headquartered in Taiwan thinks exactly the same thing. Mainland China is simply temporarily not under its control. Both governments view entirety of China, including mainland and island of Taiwan as their territory.

            Not really. The ROC government has for a long time only had seats for districts in Taiwan itself. Really, only the fear of a violent PRC reaction (an invasion would be unlikely but not unimaginable) keeps Taiwan from just declaring itself independent of the rest of China.

            • by cyfer2000 (548592)
              Ma Ying-jeou, the president of ROC government, just gave a talk on several days ago, claiming mainland China was part of ROC under the R.O.C. Constitution. link 1 [chinasmack.com] link 2 [scmp.com] link 3 [shanghaiist.com] link 4 [chinapost.com.tw].
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And coerces the Chinese, to the point that we've had chinese developers walk away from projects that refused to bow to the Chinese version of reality (probably because they were afraid of repercusions if they didn't).

        • by neonKow (1239288)

          Yes, that is what governments do in general. The PRC doesn't just coerces the Chinese. Taiwan used to be in the UN until the PRC said "it's us or them."

          Meanwhile, Taiwan and Chinese companies happily do business in the high-tech manufacturing industry.

      • by fliptout (9217) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:36AM (#45280925) Homepage

        Yes, they do. I remember telling a group of Chinese doctors that I thought it strange that Taiwan has its own currency, defense force, and government if it was part of China. Oh, China liberated Tibet from an oppressive regime, too.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Some of the British Colonies have their own currencies. All of them have their own governments.

    • by Hardhead_7 (987030) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:43AM (#45280187)
      There's a difference between being wrong, and people thinking something is wrong. For instance, it doesn't matter how many people think Global Warming is a hoax - they're wrong.

      Similarly, it doesn't matter if a billion customers think Taiwan is part of China. The real objective truth is Taiwan operates independently. The clue might be that the Taiwan Government is the one complaining.
      • by wiredog (43288)

        Taiwan, like Tibet, is a part of China, and always has been. Just ask any PRC sockpuppet.

  • Taiwan is demanding Apple revise its map data

    FTFY. There is a difference between data and software and we should understand that.

  • 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.

    • In another sense, China is a province of Taiwan. It just happens to be under the control of a band of rebels at present.

    • 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.

      • "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."

        My dad's wife is from Taiwan and is exactly the opposite. Although I never asked what she thought about Taiwan being a part of China.

      • by PhilHibbs (4537)

        And yet the country calls itself "Zhnghuá Mínguó", which means "Republic of China".

        • by PhilHibbs (4537)

          Or, is she one of the 2% of pre-Chinese indigenous population?

      • by Dak RIT (556128)

        The annual independence vs unification poll [taipeitimes.com] was just released recently in Taiwan.

        Asked about their position on cross-strait relations, 66 percent of respondents supported the “status quo,” 24 percent wanted independence and 7 percent supported unification with China, according to the survey conducted by cable news channel TVBS between Thursday last week and Monday.
        However, the poll found that most respondents favored independence over unification if they were asked to choose between just those t

    • by trmj (579410)
      The argument is less over which one controls all of China than it is over which one is the "Real China". The current governing bodies of both refer to a "One China, Two Areas" rule which allows them to cooperate economically without fighting.

      Having spent some time in Taiwan, the people there refer to themselves as Chinese, not Taiwanese. They don't speak Mandarin, they speak Chinese. Which is to say, their national identity is "Chinese" and that's what works for them. They also have a standing military t
    • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:24AM (#45280751) Homepage

      It's actually a topic of controversy in the ROC today.

      The ROC and the PRC, recall, were united for a time under Dr. Sun Yat Sen and they both claim the same territory as that original, united ROC claimed. That means both officially define Taiwan as a province of China, and themselves as the lawful government over all the provinces of China. This is not new.

      But there is also a significant undercurrent of nativist and japanophile sentiment for independence in Taiwan, and not everyone agrees with that de jure interpretation. This faction is not new either and has actually become popular enough to control the government at least part of the time, so it's not hard to find officials asserting the very opposite. It's a very contentious issue. The apparent impossibility of liberating the PRC held territory, and a strong desire not to be absorbed by it, is probably a main cause of the increase in independence sentiment.

      I dont live there and am not pretending to be an authority, just a sinophile sharing what I have observed.

    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:28AM (#45280807)

      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.

      This is quite simplistic and as a result a little inaccurate. Taiwan has two major political camps, just like the US. They hate each other. The "pan blue" group is the KMT (currently in the majority and holding the presidency) and some aligned smaller parties. The "pan green" group is the DPP and some aligned smaller parties. The previous president was DPP. The problem is that the DPP in general are crazy, independence fanatics who want to announce at every opportunity that Taiwan is its own nation, even if they die as a result (they are not smart enough to realize this might happen). The KMT is more realistic, and reunification is truly their goal, yes, but not now. They look towards maybe 100 years or more in the future for that. China has to change a lot for them to agree to rejoin it. The KMT interprets "one China" in a very different way from China (they define "one China" basically as "Taiwan"). The problem is that the DPP dummies keep trying to say and do things that might get Taiwan invaded and the KMT is much better at playing the "Whatever you say, boss!" game. The DPP fails to recognize that some of what the KMT does (again, they are currently in charge of the government) is not sincere but just designed to placate China. So the DPP constantly accuses the KMT of "selling out" Taiwan to China and trying to secretly reunify them and the KMT fears that if the DPP ever got control of the government again (this is a very realistic possibility in the next presidential elections), their impatience would lead them to do something stupid and get Taiwan invaded. Given the recent posturing by China in the South China Sea, this is not a groundless fear.

      • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:19PM (#45281483)
        Whoa there KMT lapdog, just because President Chen was a bit unrestrained doesn't mean everybody in the DPP is... that's like more than a third of the country, dawg. If you paid attention to Dr. Tsai's campaign she was much more moderate on the independence issue than Chen. She only lost because the chauvinists among the moderates would rather vote for a PRC collaborator than a woman. Keep on playing by the PRC's rules and you too can end up just like the boiling frog SARs. What a future.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GoCats1999 (936745)

        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. Si

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Invaded? China doesn't own troop transport ships of meaningful size. They use cruise liners for simulation which couldn't possibly function against hostiles. What would they invade them with?

    • by Kagato (116051)

      At the same time the two are hitched economically. The long and short of it is millions of jobs in mainland China are at Taiwanese owned companies. An outright war between the two would devastate the Chinese economy. You're seeing more and more Taiwanese companies hedge their bets with new factories in other parts of Asia, India and Latin America.

  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @10:42AM (#45280183) Homepage
    It's complicated [wikipedia.org].. basically it is de facto a nation, but it is not necessarily a nation de jure. But if you want one of the most likely kick-off points for World War III it is the issue of Taiwanese independence..
    • But if you want one of the most likely kick-off points for World War III it is the issue of Taiwanese independence..

      Strange I always thought it would be "Macedonia" [wikipedia.org] that kicks off WW III

  • And Taiwan doesn't.

  • This isn't the first time such a mistake was made. Google also labeled Taiwan as a Chinese province in 2005.

    I don't think this is a "mistake." Taiwan's status is an open question and Apple is probably choosing whichever side will benefit them more. Where's their bigger customer base, the island or the mainland?

  • 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).

    • Ugh you are talking like Taiwan is a US territory. They are not like HK was, no US entities pick who runs Taiwan or how. (Or you could be sure the DPP would never have won an election. President Chen was well known to have had the US State Department tearing its hair out.) Taiwanese people might consider the two system possibility in three decades when they can see what China really does to HK after the noninterference period is over. I expect it to go about as well as June 4, 1989.
      • by slew (2918)

        Ugh you are talking like Taiwan is a US territory. They are not like HK was, no US entities pick who runs Taiwan or how.

        No Taiwan is not a US territory, that is why I said the closest analogy is with post WWII Germany (which wasn't a US, UK, French, or USSR territory either). It is technically a temporarily occupied territory.

        Under well established precepts of international law (e.g., the Hauge convention of 1907), if you temporarily "occupy" a country as a result of a war (as opposed to annex a territory), the occupier (in this case the US) shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible

  • by BradMajors (995624) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:46AM (#45281071)

    "Taiwan, Province of China" is the official name used by the United Nations: http://www.unece.org/cefact/locode/service/location.html [unece.org]

    Other companies also use this same name, such as ebay.

    • by Shatrat (855151)

      That's not particularly meaningful, given that totalitarian regimes are to the UN as the tea party is to the US Congress. They've got enough votes to accomplish a lot of things that don't make sense and they vote in blocks.

  • In China, the maps should show Taiwan as a province of China.
    In the rest of the civilized world, including Taiwan, the maps should show Taiwan as its own entity.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

Working...