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‘China may toughen laws on illegal mapping’

China: Cartographers who publish maps which do not include all of China”s territorial claims may receive tougher punishments in the future, according to a draft of regulations, reported state media. The move comes amid a worsening political crisis between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed islands, and would see a ten-fold increase in the maximum fine payable for publishing maps considered inaccurate by the Chinese government.

Current regulations, drafted in 1995, allow for a maximum fine of CNY 10,000, which would increase to CNY 100,000 (USD 16,000) if the new law is passed, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The draft also proposed greater supervision of Internet map services, requiring providers to place data servers within China”s territory and use only approved maps.

Beijing is currently embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute with Tokyo over a set of uninhabited but strategically-placed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.

The issue was further complicated when coastguard vessels from Taiwan, which also claims the islands, sailed into the disputed waters and exchanged water cannon blasts with their Japanese counterparts.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, a source of friction with several southeast Asian countries.

Source: AFP