Crackdown on illegal mapping websites

Updated: 2008-03-27 07:30

The government will crack down on illegal mapping websites and other online sources of geographical information to address what has been called a threat to State security, an official with the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) said on Tuesday.

Eight departments, including the SBSM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, said they will tighten supervision of online map and geographical information service websites.

Min Yiren, deputy director of the SBSM, said there were nearly 10,000 online map websites in China, most of them showing unapproved maps.

"Some websites publish sensitive or confidential geographical information, which might leak State secrets and threaten security," Min said.

He said those websites will be closed down.

Foreign organizations and individuals engaged in making and publishing online maps will also be stopped, he said.

The campaign will also target websites that make mistakes such as labeling Taiwan a "country", wrongly drawing national boundaries, or omitting islands such as the South China Islands, Diaoyu Islands and Chiwei Island, Min said.

The operators of such websites will be punished and told to make corrections, he said.

A hotline has been set up for the public to report websites.

The SBSM put 418 Chinese and world maps on its website for the public to check and download.

Last year, authorities issued a regulation restricting surveying and mapping by foreigners to protect security. It said foreign organizations and individuals who intend to engage in mapping must obtain approval from the central government.

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