Customs authorities in Quindao, China, destroyed almost 30000 world maps last week for showing Arunachal Pradesh as part of India and Taiwan as an independent country, reports said.
According to reports, “A total of 803 boxes of 28,908 maps were seized and destroyed, the largest amount to be disposed of in recent years.”
The crackdown came after the customs officials of Qingdao in China’s Shandong province seized 28,908 world maps kept in 800 boxes. The maps were taken to a secret location in Qingdao and shredded on the orders of the natural resources and planning bureau, the report said.
This is being considered the largest such exercise in recent years and was carried out to protect China’s “territorial integrity”, said the reports.
According to the Global Times report, the maps were produced by a company in East China’s Anhui Province and were on the way to being exported to an unspecified foreign country.
Ma Wei, from the Department of Geographical Information Management at the Ministry of Natural Resources, was quoted as saying, “If there are ‘problematic maps’ which harm national sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially foreign printed products or products destined for import or export, they will be intentionally used or speculated on by the international community.”
Global Times quoted Liu Wenzong, a professor from the Department of International Law of China Foreign Affairs University as saying, “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.”
Beijing has claimed the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of China and has depicted it on its official maps as a part of south Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). It also considers Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, as a breakaway province to be eventually unified.
The Indian government under PM Modi, however, has been pushing infrastructure development and outreach programmes in Arunachal Pradesh actively, ignoring China’s regular ‘warnings’.
In April 2017, Tibetian spiritual guru Dalai Lama had visited the state to attend an event in Arunachal Pradesh, to which China had taken a strong objection. India, however, has been conveying to China firmly that Arunachal Pradesh is and will remain an integral part of India.
During the Doklam standoff, where Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a tense staring down contest, India, with is a non-compromising stand, had made it clear that India under PM Modi will not be bullied by China.
The two countries have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute covering 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).