Last Updated on December 13, 2021
The live video feed at Democrat President Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy was cut during a presentation by Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang last Friday after the Taiwanese official appeared in front of a map showing Taiwan as being separate from China, which claims the island as its own.
The panel was, ironically enough, focused on “countering digital authoritarianism.”
Sources reportedly told Reuters that Biden’s White House ordered the feed to be cut because “The White House was concerned that differentiating Taiwan and China on a map in a U.S.-hosted conference – to which Taiwan had been invited in a show of support at a time when it is under intense pressure from Beijing – could be seen as being at odds with Washington’s “one-China” policy, which avoids taking a position as to whether Taiwan is part of China.”
Tang’s map was sourced from South African NGO CIVICUS and showed Taiwan in Green and China in red.
“Any opinions expressed by individuals on this panel are those of the individual, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States government,” a onscreen disclaimer stated after the feed was cut and replaced with audio only during Tang’s presentation. The State Department cited “confusion” as the reason for the feed cut, and claimed it was an “honest mistake.”
According to Reuters, one source stated that the map “generated an instant email flurry among U.S. officials and the White House National Security Council (NSC) angrily contacted the State Department, concerned it appeared to show Taiwan as a distinct country.”
“At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang’s video feed be cut,” a National Security Council spokesperson reportedly told Reuters, contesting the sources’ accounts of what happened behind the scenes.