Stu­dent broke the law by putting his name on the map

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - GE YULU,

a stu­dent in Bei­jing, found a road with­out an of­fi­cial name­plate in the me­trop­o­lis in 2013. He then made one bear­ing the name “Geyu Road”, which looked ex­actly like an of­fi­cial one, and put it up. One year later, sev­eral do­mes­tic nav­i­ga­tion com­pa­nies had adopted the name in their maps. Bei­jing News com­ments:

Ge’s ef­forts to name a road after him­self have been in vain. But it should be noted that road names are ac­tu­ally key in­for­ma­tion that shape our lives, be­cause they are re­lated to res­i­dents’ ad­dresses, travel routes, even their res­i­dency regis­tra­tions.

The ur­ban plan­ning au­thor­i­ties of Bei­jing have al­ready said that ac­cord­ing to the law what Ge did was il­le­gal, since the law clearly states that only of­fi­cial agen­cies have the power to name streets and roads. Be­sides, by putting up his own street sign, Ge has dis­turbed the nor­mal traf­fic or­der and he now faces le­gal penal­ties.

How­ever, the case re­veals some de­fi­cien­cies with the ur­ban plan­ning depart­ment. Ge said that the road was un­named when he found it. It did have an of­fi­cial name, but the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties did not put any name­plate up.

More im­por­tant, the nav­i­ga­tion com­pa­nies adopted “Geyu Road” in­stead of the of­fi­cial name in their data­bases. That means they sim­ply re­ferred to a road’s name­plate when draft­ing their maps, with­out ever dou­ble-check­ing them with the ur­ban plan­ning au­thor­i­ties. They will now have to re­vise their maps.

Ge’s case shows that both the ur­ban plan­ning de­part­ments and the nav­i­ga­tion com­pa­nies need to im­prove their ef­fi­ciency.

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