Chinese Globes Anger The Philippines With A Territorial Claim

China Globe Map Of Philippines

Photo: Courtesy of Alan Robles

There’s a new tiff brewing between China and the Philippines, Raissa Robles writes for the South China Morning Post, and it’s all to do with globes.

Robles writes that a tiny, barely-noticeable line on some Chinese-made globes has created insult in Manilla where they are being sold in bookshops. The line was first noticed by a group of Facebook users, who then emailed a number of news organisations about the globes.

A slideshow Robles put on her personal website details the controversy.

The problem is that these globes appear to use China’s “nine-dash” map of the sea, first published in 1947, which shows Chinese territory extending hundreds of miles south from China’s Hainan Island to the equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo.

That little line indicates that the Spratly Islands are within Chinese territory, ignoring that they are currently the subject of overlapping territorial claims by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Philippines have announced they “strongly protest” China’s decision to include the line on the map, while Vietnam has lodged a formal complaint, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

As the Chinese-made globes are cheaper than American-made globes (which do not show the line), some worry they could end up being used in schools in Manila. Robles writes in the SCMP that bookshops selling the globes have agreed to withdraw them from sale.

China courted a similar controversy last year when it emerged that the country’s new passport contained a map that appeared as if territory within the “nine-dash” line was China’s. The new passport has caused problems as some countries worried that a visa stamp would be “endorsing” the controversial map — Vietnam for one was reported to be refusing to stamp the passports.

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