TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The video feed of Taiwan’s digital minister, Audrey Tang, was cut while she was giving a presentation at the Summit for Democracy last week.
Tang was sharing a color-coded map that showed Taiwan in a different color to China, which according to inside sources, caused concern with White House officials. Her video feed was allegedly cut, leaving only audio, because of the sensitivity surrounding the so-called “one China policy” per a Reuters report.
Differentiating Taiwan and China so vividly during a U.S.-hosted conference may have been interpreted as going against Washington's version of the “one-China" policy. The U.S. approach is to not take a clear stance on whether or not Taiwan is actually a part of China.
Despite the timely cutout — as the map was being shared — the State Department denied it had anything to do with politics. They said technical "confusion" over screen-sharing hampered Tang's video, saying the dropout was an "an honest mistake."
The fuss surrounded a map that ranked the world by openness on civil rights. Unsurprisingly, Taiwan and China were different colors.
As the only regional entity categorized as "open,” Taiwan was coded green. While there were some other mid-range colors (or "repressed," "obstructed", etc.), China was red and labeled "closed."
Later when the moderator came back to Tang, only her voice was heard with the captioned "Minister Audrey Tang Taiwan" below. Soon a disclaimer appeared: "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."
Sources reveal a mini diplomatic scuffle played out behind the scenes, involving a flurry of emails whirring between U.S. government departments and Taiwan’s government too. Washington complained to Taipei about the visualization while Taiwan was apparently incensed Tang’s video was deliberately shut off.