National security authorities have uncovered a Chinese cyberoperation to flood the Facebook accounts of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with derogatory comments.
The government found 825 Facebook accounts run by China’s cyberarmy that posted large numbers of anti-government comments on Tsai’s and Su’s Facebook pages, a national security source said on Saturday, asking to remain anonymous.
The accounts were found to be part of China’s cognitive warfare operations that aim to deride Taiwan’s government over its close ties with the US.
One comment repeatedly made by the accounts was: “Taiwan wants to become ashes of war by acting like Ukraine to fight for the US.”
Another commonly repeated comment said that the Tsai administration had bitten off more than it could chew by siding with Washington against Beijing.
One of the Chinese accounts identified themselves as “Yanchun Song,” who appeared to run a media planning company in Liaoning Province in northeast China, the national security source said.
Security authorities identified Song as the president of Dandong Bokai Advertisement Planning Co (丹東博凱廣告公司) in Liaoning, the source said.
China has long used its cyberarmy to disseminate misinformation through a step-by-step process in an attempt to manipulate public opinion in Taiwan, they added.
The first two steps are creating fake accounts to post misinformation and then using Facebook pages run by people overseas to share the misinformation, the source said.
The third step is to use several dummy accounts to spread the false information, they added.
The final step is to share those accounts on Facebook groups commonly used by Taiwanese in a bid to generate clicks, create controversy and draw attention to the misinformation, the source said.
The model is aimed at “brainwashing” Taiwanese with the goal of defeating the enemy without having to use force, they said.
The source accused China’s cyberarmy of using similar tactics and attacks during Taiwan’s local government elections in November last year, and said that their next target could be next year’s presidential and legislative elections.
China’s cyberarmy could try to exploit several issues ahead of the elections to try to convince Taiwanese that the government is doing a poor job and that war across the Taiwan Strait could break out soon, the source said.
Among the issues that could be exploited are China’s import bans on Taiwan’s agriculture and fishery products, Taiwan’s wide wealth gap, China’s military drills and expensive US arms sales to Taiwan, the source added.
China could also spread the idea that Washington would abandon Taipei in a war with Beijing, they said.
Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies in a recent study found that China’s cognitive warfare against Taiwan was becoming more diverse, expanding from efforts to influence via mostly personal bilateral exchanges to online propaganda.
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
CROSS-STRAIT CONCERNS: At the same US Congress hearing, Mira Resnick said a US government shutdown could affect weapons sales and licenses to allies such as Taiwan A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would be a “monster risk” for Beijing and likely to fail, while a military invasion would be extremely difficult, senior Pentagon officials told the US Congress on Tuesday. Growing worries of a conflict come as China has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan, holding large-scale war games simulating a blockade on the nation, while conducting near-daily warplane incursions and sending Chinese vessels around its waters. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said a blockade would be “a monster risk for the PRC [People’s Republic of China].” “It would likely not succeed, and it
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to