Hunan Television has issued a statement of apology for excluding Taiwan from a map displayed as a backdrop during the 15th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students on Tuesday. The programme was broadcast on Sunday.

While the area representing China was highlighted in red, Taiwan was not included, leading to criticism from commenters online. The background appeared for four minutes and seven seconds during a speech given by a contestant from Egypt. Hunan Television said that it has since made corrections to the programme and the version online is now accurate.

missing parts hunan tv taiwan tibet
Both Southern Tibet and Taiwan are missing from the map. Photo: Weibo.

Chinese commenters found that it was not only Taiwan missing, but also the southern part of Tibet. One said “This is rubbish… [it] can’t even recognise the policies of the country.”

“This is common sense, unless it’s done on purpose, such mistakes cannot happen,” said another.

changed background china bridge taiwan tibet
The background has been changed from China to phrases and pictures related to the contestant’s speech. Photo: Youtube screencap.

The television station said that its entire staff holds a “firm view” towards the completeness of the motherland and the oneness of the country. “Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory, and [we] firmly oppose any discourse and action that splits up the country.”

“We deeply feel a neglect of our duties, and deeply expresses our distress,” it said. It added that it had given criticism to those responsible, and that it will continuously strengthen awareness, including that of politics.

Under the One-China principle, Beijing refuses to recognise the state of Taiwan as independent and insists that the island is an inalienable part of a single China.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.