Israel appears in shape only on China's mapping services

Provocation or diplomacy? China removes Israel from its digital maps

The move is tinged with irony given China’s well-known neurosis about borders and the standards it expects from the rest of the world

Internet users in China have noticed that the name Israel no longer appears on leading local digital maps services such as Baidu or Alibaba. The move, no doubt either with the permission of or at the direction of the Chinese government, demonstrates an ambiguity to the region which is loosely in line with Beijing’s value diplomacy in the region and yet sharply contrasts its detail to maps more generally.
According to the Wall Street Journal and social media users, Baidu’s Chinese online maps clearly outline Israel's borders as recognized globally as well as the West Bank and Gaza. It also includes key cities just as Jerusalem and Haifa (where China operates its port) but does not include the name of Israel as a whole.

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Baidu China Israel Map
Baidu China Israel Map
Israel appears in shape only on China's mapping services
(Photo: X/shaunmmaguire)
The same is true with Alibaba’s Amap suggesting the move is deliberate and not a glitch. Neighboring countries Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt are still named as usual.
China’s action to remove Israel’s name from its mapping services comes amid the war with Hamas following the October 7 massacre. In recent days, Israel has criticized China for not taking a critical stance against Hamas, with foreign minister Wang Yi even stating that Israel's “actions have gone beyond self-defence”.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has urged China to use its relationship with Iran and other countries in the region to help prevent the conflict from spreading.
The move is tinged with irony given China’s overall neurosis about borders and the standards it expects from the rest of the world. Earlier this year, the country allegedly insisted that the summer blockbuster film Barbie included its ‘nine-dash line’ in the South China Sea, reinforcing its territorial claims which are not internationally recognized.
This same standard has caused the country to levy fines on hotel websites and other companies in the past.
The war conflict in the region broke out on October 7 when hundreds of murderous terrorists from the terrorist organization Hamas broke through the border from the Gaza Strip and carried out a heinous massacre of innocent Israeli civilians inside Israeli territory. In the brutal massacres, at least 1,400 Israelis were murdered - babies, children, women and the elderly - adopting tactics reminiscent of ISIS.
Thousands more were injured and over 200 women, children, babies, old men and soldiers were abducted by Hamas to the Gaza Strip, with the intent of using them as bargaining chips against Israel. In response, the IDF has been attacking the terrorist infrastructure of the jihadist Hamas organization in Gaza for three weeks in an attempt to collapse its hold on the Palestinian population in Gaza.