Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Which of these two maps is correct? It depends who you ask. Most countries don't recognize China's territorial claims. But China is trying to change that. By slowly changing the maps you see around the world. Welcome back to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell. This episode is sponsored by MOVA Globes. This is the coolest globe you'll ever own. But there's one thing that most people buying it won't notice... but China Uncensored viewers will. And some of you already have. It turns out, there's no single, standard map of the world— at least not from the perspective of the world's roughly 200 countries. Not every country agrees on where the borders are. For example, India has border disputes with both Pakistan and China, so each of those countries has its own version of the world map. And most notably, the People's Republic of China thinks they own the entire South China Sea. That's why, on China's official maps, they draw this Nine-Dash Line. Everything inside belongs to China... including the entire country of Taiwan, which is also claimed by the People's Republic of China. Plus, China's map claims this giant chunk of India's Arunachal Pradesh state. China calls it “South Tibet.” The important thing here is that while this is China's current official map, pretty much no other country's government agrees. In fact, in 2016, an international tribunal in The Hague rejected China's claims to the South China Sea. That made it official. Except that China rejected the Hague's ruling... and then ramped up its own plans to quietly change the rest of the world's maps. That's why when you look at a map printed in China, it looks like this. Here's a closeup. As you can see, this globe has the Nine-Dash Line, and Taiwan is the same color as mainland China. So wait...why is China Uncensored sponsored by a company that prints China's version of the map on its globes? Turns out, it's a crazy story. It all started a few months ago. Shelley, Matt, and I were at a museum in Norway. And we saw these MOVA Globes in the gift shop. I thought, “Cool, that's our sponsor!” And then I looked more closely. On each globe, I could see China's Nine-Dash Line. I was surprised, because *this* is the globe MOVA had sent us before, when they sponsored America Uncovered. It does *not* have the Nine-Dash Line. Some of our viewers also contacted us and said they noticed the Nine-Dash Line on their own MOVA globes. So we emailed MOVA and asked them what was going on. And they told us their fascinating story of Chinese censorship and crippling fines. MOVA International is an American company based in San Diego. But their globes use a lot of complicated high-tech parts that are not available in the US. So, and this may sound familiar, they set up shop in China, by contracting with a local factory. That way it was easier and cheaper to get the parts they needed. They began making globes in China in 2008. By 2017, MOVA was doing more than 80% of its manufacturing in China. MOVA makes dozens of designs, including earth globes, the moon, other planets, even a Van Gogh painting. MOVA has always focused on the technology of their globes. They're not an educational company. So they were never concerned with the politics of maps. MOVA purchased their map designs from a Chinese vendor, and then had a local company do the physical printing. That includes their 12 globe designs that have political maps of the world. And it turns out, Chinese government regulations require that all maps sold in China, or printed in China but sold abroad, have to have China's official version of the world map. And since MOVA had its maps printed in China, it had no choice but to comply with Chinese law. Over the years, and especially since the 2016 Hague ruling, the Chinese government has strengthened its map printing rules. As my favorite Chinese state-run media The Global Times put it: The goal is to “make the [Chinese] government's position on territory clear to the international community.” And this is important, because “Problematic maps... will confuse the international community about China's territory and the government's position, or even be hyped by those with ulterior motives, seriously damaging national interests and the government's image.” And while most normal people would consider this to be... ludicrous... the People's Republic of China takes it very, very seriously. And they literally have inspectors check every single Chinese factory— including foreign companies'— to make sure their maps are politically correct. Here's another example. Shelley got this map as a Christmas gift. You can scratch off the countries you've been to. It's sold by a UK-based company. It, too, has China's Nine-Dash Line. Guess which country that map was printed in? And when Shelley scratched off China and Taiwan, they were the same color. Sorry, Shelley, you only get credit for visiting *one* country now. Even digital maps of China are affected. While Google Maps looks like this... Chinese-owned Baidu Maps looks like this. It has China's version of the border with India, the Nine-Dash Line, and Taiwan is labeled like a province of China, not a separate country. And artwork has been affected, too. Last year, Chinese students protested at the London School of Economics because a giant upside-down globe sculpture showed Taiwan as an independent country. As you can see from this photo, Taiwan is clearly pink while China is yellow. After an international controversy, the London School of Economics solved the problem in the most academic way possible: They added a footnote. And the map controversy has hit retail stores, too. Last year, clothing company GAP was criticized by Chinese authorities for selling a T-shirt with the “wrong” map of China. This is what GAP's shirt looked like, And this is the map it was “supposed” to have. GAP wrote an apology so pathetic it's almost unreal. They said: “Gap Inc. respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We've learned a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China. We sincerely apologize for this unintentional error.” Other companies that have recently apologized to China over maps include: Versace... Christian Dior... And Audi... Just last month, following that NBA-Hong Kong debacle, sports broadcaster ESPN showed this graphic of China— complete with Taiwan and the Nine-Dash Line. All this is to say, that a huge number of companies that print their products in China, or simply have a business relationship with China, have felt pressure to make their world maps conform to China's official version. And that includes the maps they use in products sold in the rest of the world. And given that most maps are made by companies that are not educational companies— like GAP, ESPN, et cetera— those companies don't really care. Many of them are not even aware of the politics surrounding maps. And it's much easier to just do what the Chinese government requires, than to take a stand against the world's most powerful authoritarian regime on what—for them—is a minor issue. The United States and other free countries don't have these kinds of map restrictions. So in the US, Canada, Europe, et cetera, you can show any map you want. Like Shelley's scratch-off map—shipped to the US by a UK company that just happens to print its maps in China. See, it doesn't matter if it matches the US or UK's official world map. That's called freedom of the press. And the Chinese Communist Party is taking advantage of *our* freedom of the press. Their plan is to get the rest of the world to recognize their territorial claims. I'm not exaggerating. They literally say that in state-run media. So the Chinese Communist Party is slowly infiltrating all the maps everywhere, by controlling the printing inside China, and pressuring Western companies outside China. But this cloud has a silver lining. Not every company is a coward like GAP. Which brings us back to MOVA Globes. The management at MOVA told us they hadn't even noticed the Nine-Dash Line until we pointed it out to them. But now MOVA *is* aware. And MOVA has stopped production in China. I'd like to say it was our message to MOVA that convinced them to pull out. But it wasn't. It was something even crazier. See, this is MOVA's Antique Terrestrial map. It's based on an Italian world map from 1790. In 1790, China was ruled by the Qing Dynasty, and the map of China looked very different. But guess what? China's communist authorities don't recognize that map, because China was labeled in Italian. Chinese inspectors had approved all MOVA Globe designs since 2008. But things seem to have changed in 2017— right as China was strengthening its map printing rules. That's when Chinese government inspectors entered the factory— the one MOVA had contracted to make their globes. The inspectors saw this antique design, and told them they couldn't print it— because it doesn't match China's guidelines. That's crazy! But it gets crazier. The inspectors stopped the presses, and issued steep fines for, quote, “not being in compliance with China's rules and regulations.” This applied to the antique designs, plus a number of modern designs. All in all, MOVA was forced to pay more than 40,000 US dollars in fines. So what was MOVA to do in this kind of highly politicized environment? They closed up shop, and moved all their manufacturing to Taiwan. Well, they didn't actually close up shop themselves. The Chinese government did. Officials boarded up the factory, and forbid them from accessing it until they paid up. They had to pay, because that factory still housed a lot of MOVA's expensive internal components, like solar cells and magnets. And it's those components that make MOVA globes spin magically like this, without any wires or external batteries. This unique technology is the core of their business. So the Chinese government essentially forced MOVA to pay more than 40,000 dollars just to go into the factory and collect their own components. All in all, it was a very expensive form of censorship. As of 2019, MOVA does 100% of its printing and assembly at its own facility in Taiwan. And since Taiwan is a free country, MOVA can now print whatever they want with no restrictions. And now that the US has a 30% tariff on certain imports from China, it's actually less expensive to manufacture in Taiwan. But like many companies, even after pulling out of mainland China, MOVA is still facing pressure. See, even though MOVA's map designs are now printed outside China, each globe uses highly specialized Low-Light Solar Cells, and a Low Friction Motor.