Does this world map look odd to you? It won't to any Chinese readers, but those from other countries might wonder why China appears in the centre rather than Britain (London is, after all, at 0°longitude). Well, "China" in Chinese (中国) translates as "Middle Kingdom", so all Chinese maps place their country in the middle of the world! I guess Britain did the same when we imposed our maps on the world.
So Chinese maps have the annoying effect of squashing all the land masses around the edge. And when you teach directions, as I had to this week, it all gets a bit confusing. China is in the Far East, despite being in the middle. Europe is on the left, in the West, yet America is on the right, also in the West. I asked a Chinese teacher how students cope with having two Wests and no East. She said she'd never noticed and students just learn about China geography anyway! It does help explain my students' woeful world knowledge. "Africa is in Brazil", according to one this week.
20/1/2013 02:22:37 pm
There's also no label for 'Asia', unlike the other land-mass continents.
Paul (the one)
21/1/2013 03:25:45 am
Good point, but I think it's just because they assume Chinese people know which continent their country is in and where it's located (they often don't, incidentally!)
21/1/2013 01:40:15 pm
Unlike Britain, which is trapped in something called Europe and which most of us are desperate to leave.
Paul (the other one)
21/1/2013 02:15:55 am
If you think about it is us who talk about “Western civilization” and the “Far east”. I fully understand them putting their own country in the centre of maps , especially as it seems America is closer to the East
Paul (the one)
21/1/2013 03:26:51 am
On the contrary, Chinese refer to their country as being in the Far East, with Japan to the East and Euope/US to the West. We may have set up those phrases, but they are widely used here.
23/1/2013 05:55:32 am
All looks good to me except they left out the best hemisphere :)
19/2/2022 07:52:11 pm
Why do that.....why put the equator so low n the map...why perpetuate the geographic lie...
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Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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