During President Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy Friday, the video feed of the Taiwanese Digital Minister Audrey Tang was after the minister displayed a map that depicted China and Taiwan in different colours.
Tang displayed an image created by CIVICUS, a South African-based international non-profit organisation, which ranked the civil rights of various East Asian countries. China and Vietnam were among the countries coloured as red, receiving the lowest ranking, whereas Taiwan was the only place coloured as green, with the most respect for civil rights. After about a minute, the minister’s video feed was cut.
Several minutes later, the minister’s voice was heard at the summit, but without an accompanying video feed, and a disclaimer appeared alongside, stating that “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.”
US state department sources, who chose to remain anonymous, told Reuters that the feed was cut on the orders of the White House, as America did not wish to be seen to endorse anything that would deviate from the One China policy, which does not recognise Taiwanese sovereignty.
Reuters was told by one source that there was a flurry of emails between American government officials, with the White House informing the State Department that they were concerned about what the being displayed on-screen.
A second source said that a video technician acted directly on the White House’s orders, blaming internal “policy concerns.”
Washington Post journalist Josh Rogin appeared on the Brian Kilmeade Show and said that his sources claimed that the State Department had the video feed cut and later blamed the White House.
The White House National Security Council denies the claims of Reuter’s sources, claiming that there was a technical issue over screen-sharing.
America’s bowing to an international norm enforced by China is evidence that the Biden Administration is still not willing to definitively stand up to China. America won’t be sending government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics, because of China’s alleged atrocities towards the Uyghur Muslims, yet America continues to appease China elsewhere.
America has the potential to stand up to China. Countries like Lithuania look to America to take action against China over Taiwan. Furthermore, a study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has found that 69% of Americans support recognising Taiwanese independence.
If the US government wants to hold a Summit on Democracy, then they must be willing to prove that America is a democracy, and listen to the people. They have proved that they are willing to side with Taiwan, by refusing to submit to Chinese complaints that Taiwan, not China, was invited. Siding with Taiwan would demonstrate that the US government respects democracy, as opposed to the authoritarian dictatorship of China.
Stuart Jeffery, aka LibertyDownUnder, is the founder of the Australian Liberty Network. He is also the host of the Gumtree of Liberty and Gumtree of Liberty Live podcasts, and is editor of the Liberty Review. Stuart is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in international relations, at the University of Southern Queensland.