Territorial disputes are an inevitable aspect of political geography. One of the most contentious regions in the world is the South China Sea. We've been researching a blog for this on and off for a few months, but recently we found a succint videographic by The Economist that actually makes it understandable. The islands and atolls may seem insignificant at first blush - but not when you consider that they are located amidst potentially rich oil and gas sea reserves, in one of the business sea-trade routes in the world.
Remind me to be very, very careful on my next (well, ...first) visit to China. As you know, Lizard Point is in the business of using maps to help people learn more about the world they live in, and in China - that can prove to be a risky proposition.
According to this article on ozy.com, China has a law against any illegal map that “endangers the country’s sovereignty, safety and interests”. And if your map doesn't comply with the country's rules - you can be in for a fine of up to 200,000 yuan (about $30,000 USD). The rules include naming the South China Sea properly and marking Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in the same colour as mainland China.
Er, excuse me while I go double check our quizzes.