TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China broke off the Facebook live streaming of a meeting between Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) chief Liu Jieyi (劉結一) barely 10 minutes after its start Friday (July 5).
The encounter itself, at a Shanghai hotel, had only been announced earlier in the day, with the Taipei City Government hurrying to report the change in itinerary to the Taiwanese Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), as required.
Ko, who is widely expected to announce a bid for the presidency in next January’s elections, has been spending three days in Shanghai for a twin-cities forum.
Taipei City spokespersons said the TAO had agreed to the live broadcast, but 10 minutes into the meeting, a Chinese official suddenly addressed the lens directly, asking to stop recording. A spokeswoman said the streaming had been approved, but the official kept insisting, covering the camera with his hands before the connection was cut, the Central News Agency reported.
According to the United Daily News, the live streaming had been cleared with the Shanghai division of the TAO, but not with Liu’s head office.
China regularly censors broadcasts it doesn’t like, turning screens of international television stations black when they start mentioning sensitive subjects like Tibet, human rights or democracy in Taiwan.
Over the past few years, Ko has alienated many of his earlier supporters by referring to Taiwan and China as “one family,” despite Beijing’s relentless campaign to isolate the island and to bar it from international events.