The Biden administration took heat from critics after the White House reportedly ordered the visual of a live stream presentation cut after the presenter showed a map depicting Taiwan as its own country.
The White House hosted a virtual Summit for Democracy on Friday featuring Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang. During Tang’s presentation, she flashed a map showing Taiwan as a different color than China. The Chinese Communist regime holds that Taiwan is part of China. As The Daily Wire reported:
“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,” Reuters reported, adding: “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.”
One source “directly involved in the summit” said the White House had instructed the video booth operator to cut the video feed, asserting, “It was clearly policy concerns. This was completely an internal overreaction.”
The State Department and the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) denied that the disappearing act had anything to do with potentially offending China. A spokesperson for the State Department called the affair “an honest mistake.”
“We valued Minister Tang’s participation, which showcased Taiwan’s world-class expertise on issues of transparent governance, human rights, and countering disinformation,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesman for the NSC echoed the State Department, blaming “technical problems.”
“At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang’s video feed be cut,” an NSC spokesman 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.”
Critics took aim at the Biden administration, expressing skepticism at the administration’s claim that the video feed cut was a coincidence due to tech issues rather than an attempt to avoid confrontation with China.
“Our leaders are such damnable wimps. We say we want to stand up for democracy and that we won’t get bullied by authoritarians. And then we bend over backwards to avoid offending the far-reaching and ever-changing sensitivities of the brutes in Beijing,” National Review senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty said. “There’s no need for China to censor what our leaders can say to us. Our leaders are now preemptively censoring themselves by their own choice.”
“[H]ow completely cowardly is the Biden administration???” Neoavatara CEO and National Review contributor Pradheep Shanker said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) posted: “The Chinese Communist Party no longer needs to censor our friend Taiwan. Why? The Biden admin does it for them.”
Sen. Tom Cotton added: “Biden’s staff censored Taiwan during a ‘Democracy Summit’ hosted by the White House. You can’t make this up.”