China-India border dispute spills over into Australian university
Lecturer apologises after map showing part of Tibet as Indian territory upsets Chinese students
An IT lecturer at the University of Sydney has apologised for using an out-of-date map that showed a region of Tibet as being Indian territory.
The image upset some Chinese students after it was used by Khimji Vaghjiani during a course titled “Professional Practice in IT”.
The mistake was spotted by The Australian Red Scarf, a WeChat group run by Chinese international students, which ran an article about it last week.
“This map is different from [the] Chinese map ... India should respect the facts,” it said. “Is this Indian teacher trying to provoke a conflict?” it added.
India and China have been locked in a border dispute on the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas since the middle of June.
Vaghjiani apologised for the mistake, and for any offence that might have been caused.
“Over 18 months ago, I used an out-of-date map, downloaded from the internet, when discussing characteristics of IT entrepreneurs around the world, however I was unaware that the map was inaccurate and out of date. This was a genuine mistake and I regret any offence this may have caused,” he said.
“The current learning materials for this course ... are up to date and do not contain this map,” he added.
Although the story was not picked up by the mainland Chinese media, it was widely circulated on news portals like Sohu.com and Qq.com. Opinions were also expressed via Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter.
“We should pay attention to the fact that this wrong map was used by an Indian teacher,” one person wrote.
Another asked: “Can they challenge the whole population of Chinese people?”
Not everyone was upset, however, with several people pointing out that the incorrect map was still available online and had been used in lectures many times before.
“The part people are concerned about on the map is too small. I can’t spot it,” a person said.
The incident at the University of Sydney is the second in only weeks to have upset the Chinese community.
Earlier this month, People’s Daily posted a photograph of a piece of graffiti in a men’s toilet cubicle at the university that had the words “Kill Chinese” written next to a swastika.
The university said at the time it did not tolerate racism in any form.