By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing: Chinese authorities have destroyed 30,000 world maps for showing Arunachal Pradesh as part of India and also referring to Taiwan as a country.
China calls Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet, a claim India rejects. Taiwan is a self-ruled island which Beijing has vowed to reunite with the mainland.
“A total of 803 boxes of the 28,908 wrong maps were seized and destroyed, the largest amount to be disposed of in recent years,” a Qingdao newspaper reported citing officials in Qingdao city, Shandong province, and the Natural Resource Ministry.
“Almost 30,000 incorrect world maps, with problems including rendering Taiwan as a country and wrong depiction of the Sino-Indian border, were destroyed by the customs authorities in Qingdao,” the report said.
Indian and China — the world’s most populous and fastest-growing economies have a decades-old dispute over a 3,448-km border, the main source of friction between the two Asian giants.
The world’s 9th longest border has three sections: the western sector between Ladakh and the Chinese-held Aksai Chin; the central sector, and the eastern sector that divides Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as the part of South Tibet while India lays its claims to Aksai Chin.
China protests any visits by Indian leaders or foreign dignitaries to Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017, China renamed six cities in the state when Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had visited it.
“The problematic maps failed to show the correct territory of China and omitted South Tibet and the island of Taiwan, the Qingdao government found after an examination of the maps,” a report in the Global Times said.
“The maps were produced by a company in Anhui province and were on the way to being exported to an unspecified foreign country,” a report said.
The raid aimed at “enhancing public awareness on national sovereignty and raising people’s ability to distinguish such problematic maps”.
“What China did in the map market was absolutely legitimate and necessary, because sovereignty and territorial integrity are the most important things to a country. Both Taiwan and South Tibet are parts of China’s territory which is sacred and inviolable based on the international law,” said Liu Wenzong, a professor from the Department of International Law of China Foreign Affairs University.
“If the wrong maps were circulated inside the country and abroad, it would have caused great harm to China’s territorial integrity in the long run.”