This politics of maps has drawn itself into the headlines recently in a way that, were it not for the sour history involved, might be considered cheeky, even comical. Only a few days ago reports emerged that China's new passports include a map of the country that makes a confident if disputed claim to reality. A dotted line curves across the oceans to the east and south of mainland China. In the process it wraps in its net not only Taiwan, a fairly common habit of Chinese cartography, but also much of the South China Sea, notably the island chains of the Paracels and Spratlys. Meanwhile, to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and the Himalayan region of Aksai Chin, the sovereignty of which India and China disagree about, are included within Chinese territory.