German gov’t removes Taiwan flag, permits Palestinian flag

The foreign ministry of Germany deleted the flag of the state of Taiwan from its website while allowing the non-state of Palestine to remain on its homepage, sparking outrage on social media and from Taiwan’s government about bias.Taiwan News reported on Monday that “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.”

According to Taiwan news, a reporter asked a 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 further queried why the Palestinian flag can still be found on the website even though it is not an officially recognized country.Breul could not provide an answer.The German 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 article added that “The Federal Foreign Office website recently deleted the flag of Taiwan and replaced it with a plain, white rectangle. 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.”

Breul added: “You know Taiwan’s special status, 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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou said on Monday, according to Taiwan News, that the ministry finds Germany’s action unacceptable and it “will only cause unnecessary misunderstandings with the people of all countries.”Ou added that “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.”Taiwan News wrote that Twitter user “Chiang Kai Shek” pointed out the flag of Palestine does indeed appear, while for Taiwan the website displays the white flag, the international symbol for surrender. He then asked, “Germany thinks Taiwan surrendered?”

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