India-China Map Controversy Rocks Australian University
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An Indian origin IT lecturer at Sydney University was forced to issue a public apology after Chinese students in the University were furious by his use of map showing Chinese claimed territory as part of India.
The map, the lecturer Khimji Vaghjiani, used showed Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Akshai Chin as parts of India– territories which China claims as its own.
The issue was first discussed in the social media ‘Wechat’ group of Sydney University International students through an article. “India should respect facts” the article’s author demanded. “Is this Indian teacher trying to provoke a conflict?”
A popular site for Chinese international students, ‘The Australian Red Scarf’ also posted the article and demanded for the removal of the map.
Can they challenge the whole population of Chinese people?” read one of the comments, while the other called for a wider ‘social-media attention. “We should pay attention to the fact that this wrong map was used by an Indian teacher.”
Indian-Origin Teacher Apologizes
After the issue provoked controversy, Vaghjiani released an apology through Sydney University that was made available to The Australian, “Over 18 months ago, I used an out-of-date map, downloaded from the internet, when discussing characteristics of IT entrepreneurs around the world, however I was unaware that the map was inaccurate and out-of-date. This was a genuine mistake and I regret any offence this may have caused. The current learning materials for this course (Semester 2 2017) are up-to-date and do not contain this map.”
While the map caused a lot of outrage on Chinese social media, there are a few people who pointed out that the incorrect map is available online and the territory in dispute is too small to be seen. According to South China Morning post report, a user said : “The part people are concerned about on the map is too small. I can’t spot it.”
This is not the first time the simmering tension between India and China over the Doklam plateau has exploded to forefront through a ‘map controversy’. The July 31 issue of India Today magazine outraged Chinese netizens as it had a cover which had a map of China without Tibet or Taiwan. The cover story was called “China’s new chick” which talked about China’s growing investment in Pakistan and how that is a matter of concern for India.
China claims the Doklam plateau (Donglang, as they call it), while India and Bhutan maintain it is a part of Bhutan’s territory.