Anonymous sources said Biden’s Summit for Democracy disabled Taiwan Minister Audrey Tang’s screen-sharing abilities during her presentation at the command of White House officials, according to Reuters.
Sources reveal intentional interference: Reuters reported that during President Biden’s Summit for Democracy on Dec. 10, Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang’s video feed was intentionally cut off leaving only her audio feed for the rest of her presentation.
- Tang’s video feed stopped after a map in her slide presentation showed Taiwan in a different color than China, appearing for about a minute.
- The color-coded map was created by human rights nonprofit CIVICUS and showed Taiwan as being “open” in regard to civic freedoms while China was shown in red as being “closed.”
- Anonymous sources told Reuters that Tang’s presentation caused distress among U.S. White House officials who were concerned the differentiation could be perceived as a challenge to their “one-China” policy
- One source told Reuters the map generated an instant exchange of emails between U.S. officials and the White House National Security Council (NSC) and the State Department.
- The slide had not appeared in “dry-run” versions of the presentation before the summit, and the NSC was “angry” about the potentially intentional messaging by Tang and Taiwan.
- Another source who was reportedly directly involved in the summit confirmed the video booth operator was acting on White House instructions.
- “It was clearly policy concerns,” the source said to Reuters. “This was completely an internal overreaction.”
- Both sources told Reuters they saw the White House’s response as “at odds” with the mission of the summit and said it could signal that the administration’s support for Taiwan was not as “rock solid” as it has previously stated.
Officials’ responses: Government officials deny any intentional interference with Tang’s video feed.
- The State Department cited “confusion” over screen-sharing that resulted in Tang’s video feed being dropped, calling it “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,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
- “At no time did the White House direct that Minister Tang’s video feed be cut,” an NSC spokesman wrote in an emailed statement to Reuters. The spokesman also blamed the cut video feed on confusion over screen-sharing.
- Reuters asked Tang whether she believed the U.S. government cut the video due to the slide, to which she replied: “No, I do not believe that this has anything to do with the CIVICUS map in my slides, or U.S. allies in Asia for that matter.”