Internet users in China are expressing bewilderment that the name Israel doesn’t appear on leading online digital maps from Baidu and Alibaba, an ambiguity that matches Beijing’s vague diplomacy in the region and contrasts with its attentiveness to maps generally.
Baidu’s Chinese language online maps demarcate the internationally recognized borders of Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories, plus key cities, but don’t clearly identify the country by name. The same is true with online maps produced by Alibaba’s Amap, where even small nations like Luxembourg are clearly marked. Neither company responded to questions on Monday. It is unclear whether the development is new, though it has been discussed by Chinese internet users since war broke out.
China’s government has over the years cried foul and levied fines over maps published elsewhere online, such as on hotel websites, for failing to strictly adhere to Beijing’s territorial claims, like leaving off a nine-dotted line stretching around the South China Sea that isn’t internationally recognized.