Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harmonized Google Maps

I saw this article on Shanghaiist:
Thousands have been flocking to the brand new Apple store on Huaihai Lu since the mainland release of the iPhone 4 this past Saturday. However, many are becoming frustrated with their new purchase after discovering the mapping app on the Chinese version of the iPhone is rigged in line with government propaganda.

The map that comes along with the new iPhone is censored to comply with the official stance of the Chinese government on border divisions. Arunachal Pradesh, for example, is a territory currently in dispute between China and India. But even as the region is administered by India, any Chinese iPhone will show that it belongs to China. Further, owners report that access to an international map, previously made possible via a VPN, is no longer. The new incarnation is VPN-proof.

I remember asking my friend working at Google (in Beijing at the time) what the difference was between and His response was that the Chinese version (ditu) was harmonized. I thought that just meant they didn't include "questionable" businesses, such as special massage parlors and KTV bars, but evidently it meant showing CCP's version of the world. From the article, it looks like the map application on Chinese iPhones uses instead of Is the regular Google Maps app available as a download on Apple's App Store or is it locked up in the iOS?

Comparing the two map databases from Google, there are other differences:

1. Arunachal Pradesh is not shown as disputed in ditu (mentioned in the Shanghaiist article)
2. Disputed border in Western Tibet with India not shown in ditu
3. Taiwan clearly shown as part of China (inside gray border lines)
4. Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands also shown as part of China

That's pretty lame... the propaganda never stops. I'm surprised that ditu didn't show Mongolia as part of China proper. We already know that Apple is evil but I thought Google pushed back against China's censorship and bullying... I guess not. Does Google produce a different version of "maps" for each country with a border dispute?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


china is on vacation this week. please no china-bashing until next week.

in the meantime, please post videos of asian singers in short miniskirts.

your loyal readership