Taiwan flag mysteriously vanishes from US government websites

United States officials have yet to explain why images of the ROC flag were removed from the two webpages

The Taiwan flag has mysteriously disappeared from a pair of United States government websites, a development that has some a bit concerned about the future of US-Taiwan relations.

The websites of both the United States Trade Representative and the US Department of State used to carry images of the Taiwan flag, but now no longer do. It’s not clear when exactly these changes took place, however, both images appear to have been removed sometime last year.

The webpage last June.
And now.
A blank box where the flag used to appear.

It’s also unclear why the flags were removed. Taiwan’s United Daily News noted the change in an article published yesterday, but the paper was unable to get a direct explanation from US representatives as for why it took place. Grace Choi, a spokesperson for the United States Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, merely told UDN that the removals did not change in any way American policy regarding Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed its “disappointment” at the development, calling it “inexplicable” and “inadmissible,” adding that such an incident would “raise doubt among Taiwanese citizens about the current state of the Taiwan-US relations,” the Taiwan News reports.

Of course, Beijing has long protested against the flying of Taiwanese flag — which is officially the flag of the Republic of China. At international gatherings like the Olympics, Taiwan typically is made to participate under the Chinese Taipei flag.

Last year, long-time Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for a nationwide ban on flying the Taiwanese flag, out of “respect of China’s sovereignty and independence.”

“I request to people here: Please don’t raise the Taiwanese flag whenever you are gathering, even at the hotel during Taiwanese national holidays,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not allowed.”

The year before that, controversy erupted over 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer Chou Tzuyu waving the Taiwanese flag during a South Korean variety show.

Accused of promoting Taiwanese independence, Tzuyu had her appearances in China cancelled and was forced to film a grovelling apology in which she declared that there was only “one China,” before saying that she was sorry for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.