Sinlung /
11 March 2020

"Taiwan" to "Taipei" Johns Hopkins coronavirus map changed

A heat map showing number of coronavirus cases in China, and in "Taipei and environs."
Screenshot: JHU Coronavirus Resource Center
The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, which maintains an interactive map tracking the number of coronavirus cases worldwide, has changed how it refers to Taiwan, Axios has learned. Instead of "Taiwan," the map now uses "Taipei and environs."

Why it matters: The change tracks closely with how the Chinese government prefers to refer to Taiwan, which it views as part of Chinese territory.
  • Screenshots from early February show that the JHU coronavirus map still used "Taiwan" as a category under a section called "Confirmed cases by country/region."
  • But now the map uses "Taipei and environs," referring to Taiwan's capital city and surrounding areas.
What they're saying: When contacted Lauren Gardner, an associate professor of civil and systems engineering at JHU who directs the map project, said that they had just caught the change and would be changing it back to "Taiwan" immediately.

The big picture: Over the past several years, the Chinese government has increasingly sought to control how international organizations and companies refer to Taiwan, insisting that they change wording to align more closely with the Chinese Communist Party's "one-China policy."
  • In 2018, the Chinese government threatened airlines around the world with retaliation if they did not change wording on websites and on-place reading materials.
  • Those airlines now list the capital of Taiwan as simply "Taipei" or as "Taipei, China."

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