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
Three cases of Candida auris, a fungus that can cause a yeast infection known as candidiasis in humans, have been reported in Taiwan over the past few years, but they did not display drug resistance, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said yesterday. Lo made the statement at a news conference in Taipei, one day after the Washington Post reported that the potentially deadly fungus is spreading in US hospitals. The fungus was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and poses a danger to immunocompromised people, with an estimated mortality rate of 30 to 60 percent, Lo
‘DIRE’: Taiwan would not engage in ‘dollar diplomacy,’ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, after China reportedly offered Honduras up to US$3 billion to establish relations The government yesterday recalled its ambassador to Honduras after the Central American nation sent its foreign minister to China, signaling that it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Suspicions concerning ties with Honduras are rife after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday last week wrote on Twitter that her country would pursue diplomatic ties with China. Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina traveled to China on Wednesday “to promote efforts for the establishment of diplomatic relations” on instructions from Castro, Reuters yesterday quoted Honduran presidential spokesman Ivis Alvarado as saying. The government “has decided to immediately recall the ambassador to Honduras
SWITCH TO BEIJING: The government severed diplomatic relations about an hour after Honduras announced the move, saying that no semi-official ties would be maintained Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Honduras and ended all cooperation with the Central American country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, about an hour and a half after the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter at 8am Taiwan time that the nation would cut its ties with Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Wednesday sent Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina to Beijing to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations. She announced the plan on March 14 on Twitter. “To safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan is terminating diplomatic ties with Honduras with immediate effect” after communication with
MEDIA, SOCIETY FOCUS: Doublethink Lab said that Beijing is trying to coerce countries that rely on China economically to pursue policies in its favor China has stronger influence over Taiwan’s media and society than any other country, the Taipei-based Doublethink Lab think tank said yesterday, as it announced its China Index gauging Beijing’s global influence. Taiwan ranked 11th overall among 82 countries assessed, but first in terms of social and media influence, Doublethink Lab chairman Puma Shen (沈伯洋) told a news conference in Taipei. More than 200 experts and academics participated in the project, including some highly influential figures, Shen said. The index collects information from countries worldwide to gauge China’s influence and assess how Chinese policies affect them, Shen said. In terms of Chinese