During Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy last week, reportedly, the White House deliberately cut a live video feed of Taiwan’s digital minister because he displayed a map showing Taiwan in a different color than China.
Although a small change, the color differentiation symbolizes Taiwan as its own country, as the color codes were indicative of “openness” in regards to civil rights. China, in all red, was regarded as “closed,” while several other countries in Asia, who are said to be allies of the US, were “repressed,” “obstructed” or “narrowed.”
Knowing that the dictator of China would most likely be upset by the display, sources close to the matter claim that the White House was behind the move to censor Audrey Tang. According to a source that spoke with Reuters, White House National Security Council contacted the State Department, who contacted the Taiwanese government to complain.
In the video clip featured below, Tang can be seen speaking when he displays a digital map. Although most viewers might not have caught the change, Taiwan is definitely a different color on the map.
Cutting the feed, the moderator returns to Tang a few minutes later but this time, there is no visual of Tang, just the caption, “Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan.” There was also a disclaimer, stating, “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.”
“We believe that a completely open environment with free speech uncensored is perfect for letting digital democracy flourish.”
Here’s the video that caused White House officials to censor Taiwan’s Digital Minister, Audrey Tang’s, presentation at the U.S. Summit for Democracy. pic.twitter.com/qsLkcphWvi
— Gabriel Noronha (@GLNoronha) December 13, 2021
According to a National Security Council spokesperson, the cut feed was due to an interruption with screen sharing. “At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang’s video feed be cut.”
They didn’t divulge why the disclaimer was added.
While the Biden administration is silent on the matter, as always, according to a Rueter’s report, “A second source directly involved in the summit said the video booth operator acted on White House instructions.” The source added, “They choked,” categorizing the cut feed as an “overreaction” by the US Government.
Reuters reported: “The sources saw the move during a panel on “countering digital authoritarianism” as at odds with the summit’s mission of bolstering democracy in the face of challenges from China and others. They also said it could signal that the administration’s support for Taiwan was not as “rock solid” as it has repeatedly stated.”
Although referring to Tang repeatedly as a “she,” Tang, a male, told Reuters, “No, I do not believe that [the cut feed] has anything to do with the CIVICUS map in my slides, or U.S. allies in Asia for that matter.” He claimed technical difficulties.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry later said, “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.” The also said the slides were provided in advance.
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