Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers call for closure of Web site

CLOAK AND DAGGER:China is using Taiwan’s democracy against it by registering a Web site here, knowing that authorities would be unable to close it, a lawmaker said

By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A page from the Web site 31t.tw is pictured in a screen grab yesterday.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday urged the government to request the closure of a Web site that touts Beijing’s 31 measures to attract Taiwanese by citing articles from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

The site, the contents of which are written in traditional Chinese characters, was registered in Taiwan through US Internet domain registrar GoDaddy.

Lawmakers called attention to it after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) met with the National Security Council on Monday, when she outlined seven measures the government would take to deal with China’s “united front” efforts.

Expressing concern that the Web site could mislead the public, legislators urged the National Communications Commission (NCC) not to be “caught sleeping,” and called on it to press for the site’s closure.

After the Chinese government on Feb. 28 last year announced 31 “incentives” to attract Taiwanese students and professionals, it opened a Facebook page to disseminate information about them.

However, as of yesterday, only 498 people had “liked” the page and 556 people were following it, which had apparently prompted China to try a different approach to spread information about the measures.

In one story appearing in the “important news” section of the Web site, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Zhang Zexi (張澤熙) advises Beijing to make Taiwan’s central and southern regions the focus of agricultural exchanges.

Another story announces reduced taxes and expenses for Taiwanese businesses established in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province.

Both stories also appear on a Chinese mobile app promoting the measures.

In the app, a panda named Rong Rong (融融), which is reportedly to be gifted to Kaohsiung, is described as a “spokesperson” providing information about the Chinese National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meetings held yesterday.

The Taiwan Network Information Center — which is in charge of domain name registration and IP address allocation in Taiwan — confirmed that the Web site was registered through GoDaddy, and is valid from March 28 last year until March 20 next year.

The center said that while it is responsible for resolving the site’s URL, it has no authority over its registration or content.

China is using Taiwan’s democracy against it, DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said, referring to Beijing registering a Web site with a Taiwanese domain and Taiwanese authorities’ lack of authority to control the site’s content or have it taken down.

The US and Europe have made strides to deal with China’s cyberwarfare efforts, but the NCC appears to be sleeping at the wheel, he said.

DPP Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) also called on the NCC to take action and to press for the site’s closure.

Inaction would only spur China on, and could threaten Taiwan’s freedoms and democracy, he said.

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