China strengthens map printing rules, forbidding publications printed for overseas clients from being circulated in the country

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/17 22:39:44

Publications printed for overseas clients cannot circulate in China

A map of China, composed by 30,000 postcards, is on display at Zhengzhou Tourism College in Henan Province on Monday. Photo: CFP

The Chinese government published a notice to strengthen the import and export of Chinese maps on Thursday, highlighting regulations on domestically produced overseas publications containing maps, which analysts believe will make the government's position on territory clear to the international community.

Publishing houses that print overseas publications containing maps should obtain approval from provincial-level press and publication administrations. Printing of other products entrusted by overseas clients that contain maps should be registered with local press and publication administrations, according to the notice. 

Overseas map-related products are banned from distribution in China, the notice read.

Maps are the main form of representing national territory, which is serious for its political, scientific and legal significance. Problematic maps, if they appear in imported and exported products, will confuse the international community about China's territory and the government's position, or even be hyped by those with ulterior motives, seriously damaging national interests and the government's image, the notice emphasized. 

Publications that do not comply with China's regulations on maps are prohibited from printing, importing or exporting, according to the notice. 

The notice was co-issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources, National Press and Publication Administration, General Administration of Customs and the Office of the National Work Group for "Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications."

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation in January 2018 reported eight typical "map problem" incidents concerning inaccurate borders and the absence of some important islands, such as the Diaoyu Islands and South China Sea Islands.

Hao Zhensheng, an experienced publishing academic and president of the China Redactological Society, said that use of inaccurate Chinese maps is not uncommon. The notice emphasized print houses and globe producers can no longer escape punishment by saying that the wrong map was provided by the publisher, Hao told the Global Times on Sunday. 

This will raise domestic and foreign people's awareness about using correct Chinese maps, considering some foreign magazines distributed abroad are printed in Shenzhen [in South China's Guangdong Province]," he said. 

The notice said that rectifying problematic maps has to be a priority for departments in combating pornography and illegal publications at all levels. 

US clothing retailer Gap in May apologized to China over a map on a T-shirt released in overseas markets that omitted South Tibet, the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea.

A Chinese student surnamed Zhang at Duke University in the US, who worked for a local second-hand bookstore, told the Global Times that she had seen a lot of travel brochures and magazines with incorrect Chinese maps.
Newspaper headline: Nation strengthens map printing rules

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