Taiwan it is, then

The Map Room reports that Google has removed the “Province of China” suffix to Taiwan in Google Maps. They’ve done the right thing.

It will be interesting to see if this is the end of the matter. The reason most other countries do not recognize Taiwan is that the People’s Republic of China otherwise snubs them when it comes to business and trade. This tends to be too high a cost for the sake of “supporting” Taiwan through legal recognition when most of the benefits can already be had through informal channels and trade links.

Might China start conducting a similar policy when it comes to companies? Many companies wanting to do business in China, most recently Yahoo, have willingly cut deals that we in the west would never stand for. It would not be inconceivable that the ease of doing business in China for Google might depend on it falling into line when it comes to its cartographic labelling (not that I want to give anyone any ideas). Which the “no evil” option might be for Google in such a case is clear to me, however.

2 thoughts on “Taiwan it is, then”

  1. I agree with you that they’ve done the right thing; when the uninitiated read “Taiwan, China” it seems, reasonably enough, that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, and removing the “, China” bit eliminates that confusion.

    However, it was hypocritical of the government of Taiwan–the government of the Republic of China–to ask, while their constitution still says that Taiwan is part of some China.

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