Where is Taiwan on this map? How could a country of 23 million people and high internet usage not appear anywhere? Let’s find out…
According to the chart, the data comes from The World Bank. A quick google of “The World Bank” Taiwan turned up some very interesting hits.
First there is The World Bank’s policy on Taiwan:
Taiwan, China, is not listed as a separate country for World Development Indicators. For most indicators, Taiwan, China, data is not added to the data for China, but Taiwan, China, is added to the world aggregate and the high-income countries aggregate. There are some exceptions: For some agricultural data series received from the Food and Agriculture Organization, Taiwan, China, figures are part of the numbers cited for China (as are Macao, China, and Hong Kong, China).
Sadly, there is no explanation for why Taiwan is not listed as a country. We’ll have to investigate a little more since the World Bank’s explanation is far from adequate.
A 1981 article from the New York Times makes it clear exactly what happened:
Now that China is a member of the World Bank, however, it has insisted that in formal reports the institution mention Taiwan only as an appendage of China.
Taiwanese authorities object to any such characterization. Robert S. McNamara, who retired as the World Bank’s president on June 30 and under whose supervision the latest report was prepared, made the final decision to expunge Taiwan from the record.
Unfortunately for us, the creators of this chart chose to use data that has been distorted by China’s influence. I can’t blame @geoplace and @maps4thought for failing to notice that a country of 23 million people had gone missing, but I can ask them to be more vigilant about their data in the future.
Next time you think that numbers don’t lie, make sure you check where those numbers came from.