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The lack of an ROC flag on the president's military uniform spurred internet theories. Spoiler alert: they were wrong

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A video released by Ministry of Nation Defense showing President Tsai wearing a military uniform without a national flag patch has set tongues wagging — many in fury.

The missing embroidery seemed particularly strange considering that it was present on the uniforms of Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan and National Security Council Secretary-General Yen Teh-fa, both of whom appear with Tsai in the clip.

Making the contrast even more conspicuous was the absence of the flag from the uniform of Tsai's secretary-general, Joseph Wu.

Speculation intensified after a post about the uniforms was made to a military news Facebook page frequented by military, former military and deep-blue users.

Had the flags been intentionally taken off, people asked, with some speculating it was a deliberate sign of what they said was the administration's disrespect of the armed forces. Others said it was part of the pan-green camp's hatred of the Republic of China.

As is often the case, internet theories turned out to be totally wrong.

The Ministry of National Defense said Friday that it had prepared the camouflage jackets in question, labeling each with the name and position of its wearer.

The flag patch was specially put on the left sleeve for Feng and Yen in accordance with military uniform rules and long-standing practice — both formerly served in the military.

"Flag-embroidered uniforms were prepared for Feng and Yen," the ministry said, adding that "the rest of the officials were provided standardized uniforms."

"Military and civilian dress codes differ ... Rather than removing national flag symbols from some of the uniforms, the patches were specially made for the military officials to wear."

The ministry also said that it had not realized the difference while preparing the uniforms.

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