National Geographic to revise Paracel naming convention

After the Nguyen Thai Hoc Foundation sent a petition to National Geographic as well as receiving numerous complaints from Vietnamese scholars, organizations, and individuals, National Geographic Society has given its response in regarding the naming convention for the Paracel Islands. Below is the latest update on the statement from NGS regarding this matter:

UPDATE, March 25, 2010:

The National Geographic Society's Map Policy Committee has recently met to discuss this matter in greater detail. Based on the best information and research available, the Map Policy Committee seeks to make independent judgments about future changes or clarifications on its maps, as well as to correct any errors.

The naming conventions of the Paracel Islands on our maps will be revised as follows:

  • Smaller-scale world maps: Use conventional name - Paracel Islands; omit possession label.
  • Larger-scale regional, continental, and sectional maps: Use conventional name - Paracel Islands. Expand possession qualifier: Occupied by China in 1974, which calls them Xisha Qundao; claimed by Vietnam, which calls them Hoàng Sa.

These conventions will apply on future printings of our maps, and will be reflected online in short order.


Cindy Beidel
National Geographic


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