China has not officially removed the name “Israel” from its maps. During the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza major map platforms in China such as Alibaba and Baidu have chosen to exclude it.
The reasons behind this decision have not been explained by the companies. China’s foreign ministry has denied any involvement in requesting the removal of Israel from these platforms emphasizing that Beijing officially recognizes the country on maps.
In an editorial published by China Daily, an English language newspaper owned by the government criticism was directed towards the United States for its support of Israel. The editorial suggested that the U.S. was “on the wrong side of history”.
For citizens who do not have access to Google Maps due to restrictions imposed by their government regarding issues, Alibabas map platform and Baidu Maps serve as popular alternatives.
It is important to note that neither of these platforms automatically labels Israel or Palestine on their maps. Amap, which is an Alibabas service focusing on mapping cities does provide city names but does not specifically mention either country.
On Baidus language maps borders recognized internationally for Israel as well as Palestinian territories and key cities are marked but without explicit identification of the country by name.
The online maps created by Alibabas Amap clearly label countries such as Luxembourg but do not clearly indicate the presence of Israel.
China’s approach to its maps has generated controversy and debate as some users of media and international observers have expressed surprise and confusion over the absence of Israel’s name on these maps.