China is refining its information warfare tactics in an attempt to create animosity toward the government and nations friendly to Taiwan, an information security official said on Saturday, following the release of a fabricated Presidential Office announcement online.
A fake announcement that appeared to be from the Presidential Office was circulated on Facebook on Thursday, claiming that the government planned to accept contaminated wastewater from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The post was reported to authorities, who on Friday confirmed that it was fake and had originated in China.
The announcement showed improvements in China’s ability to fabricate misinformation compared with attempts made last year, but there were still telltale signs that it was fake, Division of Cyber Warfare and Information Security head Tseng Yi-shuo (曾怡碩) said.
The announcement was an attempt by China to sow mistrust in the government, and to create a divide in the Taiwan-Japan relationship, he said.
Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officers in December last year investigated two Taiwanese who were spreading a fake Presidential Office announcement alleging Taiwanese and US involvement in protests in Thailand.
The investigators found that the men had spent time in China where Chinese officials trained them to fabricate and disseminate misinformation, he said.
“Comparing that announcement made in December with this recent one, there are obvious improvements — there are much fewer errors,” he said.
The announcement alleged that the wastewater would be brought into Taiwan through Kaohsiung’s Zuoying (左營) naval base, which was likely meant to harm the Democratic Progressive Party administration’s support base in southern Taiwan, he said.
“Beijing increasingly understands the situation in Taiwan, and it has a grasp on the sensitive issues in different communities,” he said.
The situation could be compared to Russia’s interference in social issues in the US last year, with the purpose of affecting the outcome of the US’ presidential election, he said.
Meanwhile, political science researcher Ho Cheng-hui (何澄輝) said that while altering images and documents requires only minimal skill, what was important is what the timing and content of the document showed about who was really behind it.
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
SUFFICIENT SUPPLY: Taiwan has an abundance of pandemic-related goods in storage, and protocols have been implemented to ensure that the supply chain is not broken Hordes of customers descended on hypermarkets and supermarkets in Taipei and New Taipei City after the government yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert level for the two municipalities to level 3 until May 28. Earlier in the day, the Central Epidemic Command Center reported 180 new domestically transmitted cases, most of them in Taipei and New Taipei City. Despite the government urging the public to stop hoarding daily necessities, shelves were stripped bare while cashiers were working as fast as they could. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at a news conference on Friday detailed the government’s inventory of masks, medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and protective clothing,
‘STAY CALM’: The nation has more than 800 million masks in stock and can produce up to 40 million a day, while hand sanitizer stocks are also sufficient The nation has an ample supply of masks to meet demand amid concerns over an increase in the number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Taiwan has more than 800 million masks in stock, with daily production of 18.3 million units on average and maximum daily capacity of 40 million units, the ministry said on Facebook. The ministry’s assurance came after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Monday said that the nation has entered the community transmission stage after several new domestic
EYES AND EARS: The navy has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture radars to upgrade the nation’s naval monitoring stations A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades. Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment. The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said. The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the