In a move sure to annoy observers on the mainland, Google recently removed the Chinese name for the Scarborough Shoal, an area of the South China Sea contested by both Beijing and Manila, from its Google Maps service.
Previously, the Scarborough Shoal was labelled as part of China’s Zhongshan island chain. It lies 220 km off the main Philippine island of Luzon and 650 km from Hainan island. In 2012 China took de facto control of the territory.
Tensions between China and other nations have been escalating rapidly. Last week, the petition to get Google Maps to remove the Chinese name of Scarborough Shoal surfaced on campaigns website Change.org.
The petition read: “China’s sweeping claim of the South China Sea under their nine-dash line purportedly historical boundary is illegal and creates tension among nations.” Petitioners claim that Google Maps’s showing of the shoal as part of China’s Zhongshan island chain helps to give China credence to what is widely seen as a territorial grab.
Google responded quickly to the petition and updated its service by removing the Chinese name of the shoal. Google’s office in Manila released a statement explaining that they understand how geographic names could raise deep emotions, and have therefore agreed to remove the Chinese name of the shoal.
Previously on Shanghaiist:
China says relinquishing claims to territory in the South China Sea would shame ancestors
‘South China Sea does not belong to China!’: Anti-China protest staged in Manila
Philippine president Benigno Aquino compares China to Nazi Germany… again
By Crystal Lau
[Images via SCMP]