BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government
is to crack down on illegal online map and geographical information websites,
claiming they threaten state security, said an official of the State Bureau of
Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) on Tuesday.
Eight departments, including the SBSM, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Public Security, said they would tighten
supervision over online map and geographical information service websites.
Min Yiren, deputy director of the SBSM, said almost
10,000 online map websites operated in China, most of them showing maps without
"Some websites publish sensitive or confidential
geographical information, which might leak state secrets and threaten national
security," Min said.
He said those websites would be closed down.
Foreign organizations and individuals engaging in
making and publishing online maps in China would also be stopped.
The campaign would also target websites that made
mistakes such as labeling Taiwan a "country", wrongly drawing national
boundaries, or omitting important islands including the South China Islands,
Diaoyu Islands and Chiwei Island, said Min.
These websites would be punished and required to make
corrections, he said.
A hotline has been set up for the public to report
The SBSM put 418 Chinese and world maps on its
website for the public to check and download.
Last year, China issued a regulation restricting
surveying and mapping by foreigners to protect national security.
It stipulated foreign organizations and individuals
who intend to engage in surveying and mapping must obtain approval from the
central government and accept supervision from local