ESPN is facing backlash for its use of a map during a Wednesday broadcast that showed Taiwan as being owned by China.
The network used a map on “SportsCenter” Wednesday morning that showed China owning the self-ruled island and other territories in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.
The map was used for a report on the dispute between the NBA and China, which centers on Beijing’s anger with a tweet by an NBA general manager offering support for Hong Kong demonstrators.
China utilizes the map, which includes the so-called nine-dash line, domestically to reinforce its claim over the territories, according to Reuters. The nine-dash line is controversial in Southeast Asia because it encompasses maritime territory that is contested by several countries in the region.
The channel used a different map when covering the story on Scott Van Pelt’s “SportsCenter” Tuesday night, the Sports Business Journal reported.
ESPN declined to comment on the map when contacted by The Hill.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong upset China, putting the NBA in the middle of appeasing the country and free speech. Several Chinese businesses have cut ties with the NBA, and NBA events scheduled for this week have been canceled.
ESPN’s majority owner is The Walt Disney Company, which has its own business interests in China. As a result, ESPN’s coverage of the controversy has itself come under heavy scrutiny.
Updated at 10:05 a.m.