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Russia, China angered by controversial Olympics maps misrepresenting Crimea, Taiwan

This image shows an athlete standing over the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games logo at a badminton match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in Tokyo on July 25, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russia and China have criticized the use of incomplete and altered maps during this year's Tokyo Olympic Games, which excluded disputed territories from the two countries.

The deletion of Crimea as part of Russia in a map published by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was protested by the Russian Embassy in Japan on Saturday.

“As the website of the 2020 Olympics has published a map in which the territorial affiliation of Russia’s Crimea Peninsula is represented incorrectly, we would like to remind you that Crimea reunited with the Russian Federation as a result of a free expression of its residents’ will in the course of a referendum, carried out in full compliance with international standards,” the embassy said in a statement.

Crimea reunited with the Russian Federation in 2014, when Crimeans held a referendum voting for their separation from Ukraine.

The Black Sea territory was shown as part of Ukraine on the map.

The map had originally depicted Crimea with a border separating it from Ukraine. However, it was changed hours before the games' opening ceremonies were scheduled to begin due to pressure from Ukraine, according to reports.

The Russian embassy said it hoped the IOC and Japanese authorities will make changes to the map.

“We assume that the IOC and the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee should correct the above-mentioned map, bringing the representation of Crimea in full compliance with legal and factual reality,” the embassy said.

In a similar move, the Chinese consulate in New York condemned America's TV broadcaster NBC Universal for showing a map of China that included neither the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) nor the South China Sea.

China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei under the internationally accepted "One China Policy." Several regional countries also have overlapping claims with China over disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The Chinese diplomatic office stated on its Weibo social media account that NBC's move had "hurt the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people."

It called on NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News which owns the US broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games, to correct its mistake.

"We urge NBC to recognize the serious nature of this problem and take measures to correct the error."

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