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German video game ad labels China 'West Taiwan'

Ad for Conflict of Nations: WW3 posts map of China labeled 'West Taiwan'

China labeled as "West Taiwan." (Facebook screenshot)

China labeled as "West Taiwan." (Facebook screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An online advertisement for a video game has gone viral for listing China as "West Taiwan," among other changes to a map of the Asia-Pacific region.

Earlier this month, a Facebook advertisement for Conflict of Nations: World War 3, which was developed by the German video game company Bytro Labs, surfaced showing a map depicting most of China as "West Taiwan." The region of Xinjiang was listed as an independent country called "Uyghur," while Mongolia is labeled as "China."

Other oddities on the map for the military-themed strategy game include a Nepal labeled as "Georgia" and a Laos that has been annexed by Vietnam. The South Asian regions of Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan are joined together to form a country called "Kashmir."

The advertisement apparently appeared sometime in early December, with many netizens first sharing and commenting on it on Dec. 3. The ad has since disappeared, and the map inside the game itself follows countries' standard official names and boundaries.

The real-time massively multiplayer online game is set in the 20th and 21st centuries and simulates a third world war with multiple maps and scenarios to choose from. In each match, up to 128 real opponents can participate as they try to lead their countries in becoming the "dominating superpower on the planet."

The use of the term "West Taiwan" (西台灣) to mock China has steadily grown in popularity since January 2020 when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Beijing needs to face the reality that Taiwan is already an independent country. At the time, netizens conjured terms such as "Mainland Taiwan," "Taiwanese Beijing," and "West Taiwan" to agitate Chinese nationalists, censors, and trolls.

In May of this year, Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley tweeted a map with China labled as "West Taiwan" that quickly went viral. That same week, as the backlash over professional wrestler John Cena's apology to China mounted, a map of the world that labeled every continent as a part of Taiwan spread on social media.

Bytro Labs has not yet responded to a request for comment by Taiwan News.

German video game ad labels China 'West Taiwan'
Global map of Taiwan. (Twitter image)

German video game ad labels China 'West Taiwan'
Conflict of Nations: WW3 map listing China as "West Taiwan." (Facebook screenshot)

Updated : 2022-05-21 17:18 GMT+08:00