China's Cartographic Controversy

China has published a vertical map showing the Mainland and the islands of the South China Sea as if it were all their own territory.

Stretching from Northern China to the southern end of Borneo, “this map will give the reader a comprehensive and intuitive awareness of China’s entire map,” says Lei Yixun, the editor-in-chief of Hunan Map Press. “Readers won’t ever think again that China’s territory has primary and secondary claims.”


  • China Map

  • China’s assertion of ownership in the South China Sea has put it at odds with at least four Southeast Asian nations, which have competing claims, and with the United States, which has said that China’s actions in the region — including having a state-owned oil company place an exploratory oil rig near the Vietnamese coast — are creating instability.

    The vertical map clearly shows the Paracel Islands (claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan) and the Spratly Islands (claimed by no less than 6 governments) as falling within their territory. China has even been dumping sand in an attempt to turn reefs into islands that can be claimed.

  • Islands

  • Representatives of India have said, "a cartographic description cannot change the facts on the ground. Our opposition to the areas shown in the map will always be there". Heightened international tensions aside (China refuses to go to the international court to prove their case), mapmakers the world over are outraged at the map's design. It has been stretched completely out of proportion to include the South China Sea, and Mainland China only covers half the map!

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