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National Geographic cartographic policy adheres to a de facto policy for depicting political entities, showing by map color and borders which country currently holds and administers a particular area.

For example, although India claims all of Kashmir, only the southern part, which is controlled by India, is shown with the green sovereignty color of India. The northwestern portion of Kashmir is administered by Pakistan and shown in the orange sovereignty color of Pakistan.

China and Taiwan are shown in the same color because each government claims to be China.  The People's Republic of China claims Taiwan as its 23rd province, but Taiwan's government maintains it is a separate political entity with a government in Taipei.