A video circulating online that purportedly shows Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) flaunting COVID-19 prevention rules is part of a Chinese disinformation campaign to demoralize the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
The video clip, in which Chen, who heads the center, is shown singing indoors without wearing a mask, was filmed last year, the minister said, but began circulating online on Wednesday, suggesting that the incident occurred earlier this year in contravention of rules mandated by a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert.
Chen on Thursday denied attending any event without wearing a mask while restrictions were in place.
The clip alleges that Chen had contravened CECC regulations at the height of an outbreak that started in May, but the video was shot on June 15 last year, shortly after restrictions had been rolled back on June 7 last year following 56 days with no new COVID-19 infections, Chen said.
Su yesterday said the clip was intended to demoralize and malign the CECC and sow doubt against the government.
A national security source said an account named “Silly Things in Taiwan” on China’s Weibo first shared the video at 5:48pm on Wednesday before it was picked up by a YouTube channel and later reported on by local news at 7:45pm.
The Weibo account also had accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, where it posts on controversial issues in the US and Taiwan, the source said.
The Chinese Communist Party is believed to be behind the channel, the source added.
The video is intended to reduce public trust in the government’s epidemic prevention policies, the source said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu’s (蔡易餘) office director, Wang Hsuan-mao (王宣貿), said that another Weibo account, known as the official promoter of Internet culture for the Guangdong Provincial Government, had also shared the video at about 6pm on Wednesday.
There is legitimate cause to suspect that Beijing is spreading disinformation on the Internet to undermine the public’s trust in the government, and attempting to cause strife and discord in the nation, Wang said.
Additional reporting by CNA
‘A DISASTER’: A successful Chinese attack on Taiwan would undermine the credibility of US security guarantees and could result in a global depression, three experts wrote A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would be a geopolitical catastrophe for the US and its allies, one that would overshadow almost all others over the next decade, US policy experts said. Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute; Gabriel Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; and former US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger issued the warning in an article published on Tuesday in Foreign Affairs. Bejing’s invasion or annexation of Taiwan “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that
Taiwanese businesspeople’s investments in China last year hit a record low of 11.4 percent of total foreign investment, the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday. The number was a huge decline from 83.8 percent in 2010, mainly because Taiwanese businesspeople have been diversifying their investments globally over the past few years, with great success, the council said. From 1991 to last year, 45,523 Taiwanese investments in China totaling US$206.37 billion had been approved, accounting for 50.7 percent of overall foreign investment, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission showed. The amount and proportion of Taiwanese investments in China has been declining, with
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
CHINA’S VERSION: The TAO threatened Taiwan and denied the existence of restricted waters around Kinmen County after two Chinese died fleeing the Taiwanese coast guard Taiwan would continue to enforce the law in restricted waters around Kinmen County, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday. The council was responding after China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) on Saturday rejected the existence of restricted waters around Kinmen County — a group of Taiwanese islands close to China’s coast — and said that Beijing reserves the right to take further measures after two Chinese died in the area. The two died on Wednesday after the speedboat they were in capsized while they were being pursued by Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials. The speedboat had entered