July 14, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

German gov’t removes Taiwan flag, permits Palestinian flag

"The foreign ministry representative claimed the change was in keeping with Germany's ‘one China policy.'"
July 14, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

German gov’t removes Taiwan flag, permits Palestinian flag

"The foreign ministry representative claimed the change was in keeping with Germany's ‘one China policy.'"

Germany’s Foreign Ministry has deleted the Taiwan flag from its website while allowing the non-state of Palestine’s to remain on its homepage, sparking outrage on social media and from Taiwan’s government about bias.

“Germany was found to have unceremoniously replaced Taiwan’s flag with a blank, white banner under its listing for the country on the Foreign Ministry website – prompting one reporter to ask if it was a white flag of surrender to China,” online news portal Taiwan News reported Monday.

A reporter asked German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul, “Since when did the official website of the German Foreign Ministry no longer use Taiwan’s flag?” He then asked why the Palestinian flag can still be found on the website even though it is not an officially recognized country, the report said.

Breul could not provide an answer.

Germany’s Free Democratic Party MP Bijan Djir-Sarai tweeted about the removal of the Taiwan flag: “I cannot believe that. That would be embarrassing and unworthy of the Federal Foreign Office.”

“The Federal Foreign Office [Foreign Ministry] website recently deleted the flag of Taiwan and replaced it with a plain, white rectangle,” Taiwan News reported. “During a press conference on Friday (July 10) the Foreign Ministry representative claimed the change was in keeping with Germany’s ‘One-China policy.’”

When asked at a press conference about the deletion of Taiwan’s flag, Breul said that “it isn’t a current change.”

“You know Taiwan’s special status,” he said. “You know our position, our ‘One-China policy.’ We have no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and Taiwan is not a country we recognize, so this is not surprising. When we introduce regions of the world, we distinguish them from countries with diplomatic ties.”

Taiwan Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou on Monday said the ministry finds Germany’s action unacceptable, and it “will only cause unnecessary misunderstandings with the people of all countries,” Taiwan News reported.

“We express our hope that the German side can properly adjust the web design of the German Federal Foreign Office in a more equitable and consistent manner to avoid discriminatory misunderstandings,” she added.

Twitter user “Chiang Kai Shek” pointed out that the flag of Palestine does indeed appear, while for Taiwan the website displays the white flag, the international symbol for surrender, Taiwan News reported. He then asked, “Germany thinks Taiwan surrendered?”

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal

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China Palestinian Politics