China might intensify psychological warfare for elections

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Apr 24, 2019 - Page 1

China might intensify its psychological and legal warfare efforts to influence Taiwanese public opinion in the run-up to next year’s presidential election, the National Security Bureau has said in a report.

Beijing could use the media to sow suspicion and hostility between the public and government agencies, the bureau said in an assessment submitted to the Legislative Yuan in February at the request of lawmakers, but which was only reported this week in the local Chinese-language media.

It could also use new technologies to sway public opinion and monitor new media as reference for its research on Taiwan policy, as well as recruit social media influencers to sway public opinion, and influence young people and academics, said the bureau, which did not provide any supporting evidence.

In terms of psychological warfare, China might use a carrot-and-stick approach by touting the success of its preferential policies to attract Taiwanese and use the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy to try to intimidate Taiwan by showcasing its military might, it said.

In terms of legal warfare, China could revise its “Anti-Secession” Law to suppress de jure Taiwanese independence, the bureau said.

The bureau had said that although there was no definite evidence that China intervened in the nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24 last year, it did try to manipulate controversial issues and news to create disputes within Taiwanese society.

Citing a report published by media in China claiming that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had agreed to unification, the bureau said many issues and news articles were fabricated to influence Taiwanese and change their perceptions.