China on Friday seized a large consignment of locally-made world maps for showing Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India dubbing them as ‘problematic’. The Customs officials reportedly seized the 300 consignments of maps worth $600 marked for exports at the Shanghai Pudong airport. The maps reportedly did not include the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as a part of Chinese territory. The communist country has claimed Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet and Aksai Chin as part of the southwest Hotan county of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), even as India asserts both regions as an integral part of the country.
According to ThePaper.com, the 300 packages to be exported as ‘bed covers’ were pulled out of the express channel for closer inspection during the check-up. The goods were seized for ‘violating provisions regulating how Chinese maps should be drawn.’
This development comes as India and China hold their 12th round of Corps Commander level talks amid the standoff at the LAC. The talks which are held at Moldo on Saturday on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and pertained to the disengagement of troops from friction points including Gogra Heights & Hot Springs area, according to Army sources.
China declares crackdown on maps
In 2019, China passed a new regulation making it mandatory for all maps (printed and sold in the country, as well as exported) to carry the ‘official version’ of Chinese maps. The ‘official map’ incorporates China’s claims on Arunachal Pradesh, Taiwan, and the South China Sea. According to the Chinese Government, “problematic” maps refer to those that do not portray China’s territory correctly, covering the inclusion of the island of Taiwan, the national boundary lines on Taiwan Island, clear delineation of the Diaoyu Island and islands in the South China Sea.
Last year, over 30,000 world maps were destroyed by Chinese customs authorities which referred to Taiwan as a country and ‘incorrectly’ depicted the Sino-Indian border. Departments were also set up in Beijing to investigate maps that ‘incorrectly’ portray China’s territory and ‘threaten’ its national security and interests. Thirteen Beijing municipal departments, including the Beijing cyberspace administration, launched 2020 annual campaigns inspecting problematic maps. If found problematic, map compilation companies, map publishers and map users, as well as online map service providers, will face criminal punishment, China announced.
(With Agency Inputs)