Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.
The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan.
To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說).
Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team.
In one video, political commentator and People First Party adviser Li Jian-nan (黎建南) blasted the preparedness of Taiwan’s military.
“Can Taiwanese soldiers even fight? In their assessment, they do not even have to carry weapons, then take 19 minutes to run 3,000 meters,” he said. “Men on the mainland also do it in 19 minutes, but they go 5,000 meters carrying heavy equipment. The women run 3,000 meters carrying heavy equipment in 17-and-a-half minutes.”
“How can you fight with such a weak army? Your soldiers cannot even use weapons. How can you talk about military capability when all you have are some guided missiles?” he added.
New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) also appeared on the program and criticized the military, saying: “You do not receive training, yet you say you want to fight. Are you preparing to be sent to your death?”
“Taiwan says it will wait and see after real war breaks out, then we might surrender. I really do not understand. Will Taiwan really have more bargaining chips at that point?” he added.
A source with knowledge of the matter said that this new propaganda technique is designed to take advantage of loopholes in cross-strait regulations, as the producers behind the program are anonymous.
No Chinese came to Taiwan to film, and the producers instead worked with “local collaborators” to produce the program and find guests, they said.
The council reiterated that Article 33-1 of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) bars Taiwanese from cooperating with Chinese organizations engaged in political work without permission.
The council would investigate the matter in coordination with other agencies, it added.
If Southeast Television or other Chinese media companies are found to have entered into a specific broadcast partnership with Taiwanese commentators who express opinions in line with political goals of the Chinese Communist Party, the guilty parties would be dealt with in accordance with the law, the council said.
This is not the first dubious media activity authorities have investigated this year.
In July, two Taiwan-based Southeast Television reporters, Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔), had their accreditation revoked and were expelled for allegedly producing political talk shows without permission.
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