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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Google placates India, China with different map versions

October 26, 2009

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service\Bangalore Bureau
The San Francisco Chronicle
October 22, 2009

Google has hit upon an interesting way of
placating both China and India over the way its
map application displays Arunachal Pradesh, a
region whose ownership is disputed by the two countries.

The Chinese version of Google Maps shows parts of
Arunachal Pradesh as inside China's borders. In
contrast, the Indian version of Google Maps depicts the state as part of India.

But both of those depictions differ from the
global version of Google Maps, which shows
Arunachal Pradesh as disputed territory within broken lines on the map.

In August this year, Google Earth came in for
sharp criticism in India for what Google
subsequently described as a mistaken use of
Chinese script to mark areas in Arunachal
Pradesh, an eastern state administered by India.

Google products that have been localized to the
local domains of a region depict that country's
official position on the area, a Google
spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. The
Indian version of Google Maps represents the
official position of the government of India, and
other country-level domains may similarly depict
the official positions of the country's government, she added.

As for the global version on the main Google Maps
site, the spokeswoman said it was Google's
standard practice to show all disputed regions
around the world on its global properties. This
does not endorse or affirm the position taken by
any side, but merely provides complete
information on the prevailing geopolitical situation to its users, she added.

The dispute between India and China over
Arunachal Pradesh has heated up recently. China,
which claims the state as part of southern Tibet,
protested earlier this month after Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh went to Arunachal Pradesh
to canvass for his party ahead of elections in the state.

Google Maps applies the same policy for its
depiction of Jammu and Kashmir, a territory
disputed by India and Pakistan. The global
version of Google Maps shows Kashmir as disputed
territory, while the Indian version shows Kashmir as part of India.
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