Google.com changed the wording on one of its maps due to complaints from supporters of the island's pan-Green alliance (a pro-independence coalition of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union), China Daily reported yesterday.
The world's largest internet search engine replaced the words "Taiwan, a province of the People's Republic of China" with arrows and other controls with which the map can be moved or enlarged.
Peng Keyu, consul general of the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, voiced objection to Google's decision and urged it to follow the US government's allegiance to the one-China principle, according to SingTao Daily.
Google spokesperson Debbie Frost said the alteration was part of a "regular update" of all its map pages rather than a specific move to change the Taiwan page.
Li Xinpei, former president of North Californian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, expressed his disappointment with the removal of the words, saying that whatever Google's intention was it should bear the one-China principle in mind.
Zhang Shaofu, a US scholar, said the updated web page might mislead Americans, Google's largest single consumer group, and overseas Chinese elsewhere about the status of Taiwan.
Google is a California-based NASDAQ-listed company whose services are utilized by 380 million unique internet users per month, according to their website, and with the mission of "organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful."
(China Daily October 20, 2005)