Google has quietly removed the Chinese name for Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal bitterly disputed by Beijing and Manila from its maps service, following an outcry from Filipinos.
The Google Maps website on Tuesday referred to the rich fishing ground — a subject of a case lodged by the Philippines at an international arbitration tribunal — by its international name, Scarborough Shoal.
The service earlier labeled the shoal as part of China’s Zhongsha island chain, prompting an online campaign demanding that the Internet giant stop identifying the outcrop as part of Chinese territory.
“We’ve updated Google Maps to fix the issue. We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention,” Google’s office in Manila said in a statement.
Panatag Shoal lies 220 kilometers off Zambales in Central Luzon and 650 kilometers from Hainan island, the nearest major Chinese land mass.
China has controlled the shoal since 2012, after a brief standoff with the Philippine Coast Guard.
Since then, the Philippines has accused the Chinese Coast Guard of harassing Filipino fishermen at the shoal, including robbing them of their catch at gunpoint earlier this year.