China passed a revised mapping law to bolster understanding of its territorial claims and to create hefty new penalties on foreigners who carry out surveying work without permission, Reuters reports.
The National People Congress Standing Committee approved the updated version of the surveying and mapping law on Thursday, it said, citing lawmakers and state media.
The revision to the law aims to raise understanding of national territory education and promotion among the Chinese people, He Shaoren, head spokesman for the NPC standing committee, was quoted as saying.
When asked about maps that “incorrectly draw the countries boundaries” by labeling Taiwan a country or not recognizing China’s claims in the South China Sea, He said: “These problems objectively damage the completeness of our national territory.”
China claims almost all the South China Sea and regards neighboring self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province.
The new law increases oversight of online mapping services to clarify that anyone who publishes or distributes national maps must do so in line with relevant national mapping standards, He said.
The rise of technology firms which use their own mapping technology to underpin ride-hailing and bike-sharing services made the need for revision pressing, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.
Foreign organizations who wish to carry out mapping or surveying work within China must make clear that they will not touch upon state secrets or endanger state security, said Song Chaozhi, deputy head of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.
Foreign individuals or groups who break the law could be fined up to 1 million yuan (US$145,000), according to Yue Zhongming, deputy head of the NPC Standing Committee’s legislation planning body.
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