In early May 2021, amid tensions between Israel and Hamas over the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Chinese mobile users reported that a number of online maps and popular navigation services in China had blocked all search results for Israel. This included the popular navigation app AutoNavi, which blocked the name “Israel” when users attempted to search for locations in the country. Other mapping services, including Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Baidu Maps, were also reported to have blocked search queries for Israel or failed to accurately display the country’s borders.
It is unclear why the online maps and navigation services were blocked in China and there has been no official statement from the Chinese government explaining the decision. However, some have speculated that China may have taken the action in opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict.