Joe Biden hosted a Summit for Democracy a Taiwanese representative was speaking about the state of democracy and openness in Asia, showing a map that differentiated Taiwan from China.
The next time the representative, Digital Minister Audrey Tang, spoke there was no video feed. It had mysteriously cut out.
Well, Reuters is reporting that the video feed was cut off ON PURPOSE because the Biden White House was afraid of upsetting China.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Friday's slide show by Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang caused consternation among U.S. officials after the map appeared in her video feed for about a minute.
The sources, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the video feed showing Tang was cut during a panel discussion and replaced with audio only - at the behest of the White House.
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, the sources said.
So, the United States is hosting a summit on democracy. Civil rights is a major issue at hand, and then when the invited Minister from Taiwan shows a map where Taiwan and China are differentiated, the White House reportedly has a come apart and cuts the feed.
The red on the map means a country is closed, and the green represents a country that is open. Taiwan is the only country on this particular map represented as being open.
After this move, it's good that the United States isn't featured on this map, because the Biden Administration may have just colored it red. It's worth noting that Minister Tang is a man who identifies as a woman, meaning the U.S. cut the feed of a transgender representative of the most open democracy in Asia!
More from the Reuters report:
When the moderator returned to Tang a few minutes later, there was no video of her, just audio, and a screenshot captioned: "Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan." An onscreen disclaimer later declared: "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."
One source told Reuters 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.
Washington complained to Taiwan's government, which in turn was angry that Tang's video had been cut.
The source called the U.S. move an over-reaction as the map was not inherently about national boundaries, but the NSC was also angry as the slide had not appeared in "dry-run" versions of the presentation before the summit, raising questions as to whether there was intentional messaging by Tang and Taiwan.
"They choked," the source said of the White House reaction.
This is absolutely embarrassing.
We invite Taiwan to participate in this democracy summit, and then when Taiwan asserts its existence, the United States cuts them off.
The official story from the White House is, of course, that they didn't have anything to do with it. There were simply "technical difficulties" – you know, that only affected the one country in the meeting that offended China.
What a coincidence!
An NSC spokesman said Reuters' account of the incident was "inaccurate".
"At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang's video feed be cut," the spokesman said in an email, also blaming it on confusion over screen-sharing and adding that the full video could be viewed on the summit web page.
Asked whether she believed the U.S. government cut the video due to the slide, Tang told Reuters in an email: "No, I do not believe that this has anything to do with the CIVICUS map in my slides, or U.S. allies in Asia for that matter."
Taiwan's foreign ministry blamed "technical problems."
It later said Tang's presentation had been provided in advance and not shown at the last minute.
"Taiwan and the United States have fully communicated on this technical issue, and the two sides have a solid mutual trust and a solid and friendly relationship," it said.
So that's the official story. Technical difficulties.
The Biden Administration continually shows weakness in regards to China and this is just another example of our government bending over backward to please Xi.