China Control Freak: 1.4 Million Fines and Criminal Offense For Wrong Maps

“The Regulation of People’s Republic of China on Administration of Maps” was passed last November 11, 2015 and took effect on the first day of the year 2016. This regulates the administration, publishing and  producing China’s official maps. This new regulation replaced 1995 regulations on map drawing and publication, according to the State Council of China.

Zhōngguó literally means the Middle Kingdom, furthermore it interprets that China is the center of the world. Be careful, if you have entered China with a map that names the Diaoyu Islands instead of South China Sea, doesn’t mark Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau the same color as mainland China, it is time for you to gear yourself up to look for a lawyer and face criminal liabilities.

Confiscating maps is just a  way to send “a message of reassurance…over what China’s positions are,” says Zha Daojiong, an international security expert at Peking University.

This new rule encompasses even online mapping. Upon entering China, one is required to update and set up their server inside of the country and must acquire official certificate.

Maps that are contrary to the specifications of China will be tried in a criminal court and is subject to 200,000 yuan or about $31,400 or ₱1,475,800.

No individual or business can produce, display or sell maps depicting the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that do not meet the national standards and regulations implemented by the country.

“Geographic maps are of great political, scientific and legal importance, as they draw the territory of a country, directly reflecting its national sovereignty and political views”, commented by the State Council of China’s cabinet.

The new regulation also covers the relatively young industry of online maps. With the GPS embedded in cars and traffic information changing, more people increasingly rely on online maps, which can be updated in “real-time”. Under the new regulation, online maps are required to set up the server inside the country. Any networking company offering the service of GPS map location has to acquire a cartography certificate.