The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “cannot escape blame” after Lin Wei-feng (林瑋豐), a political commentator, was found to have used his own anonymous posts as evidence that China was conducting cognitive warfare, opposition parties said yesterday.
Lin on Monday apologized on Facebook after reports said that he operated an account on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) online bulletin board, posting content that appeared to support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Lin on Monday posted on PTT’s gossip board using the bj26bj account, writing that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Line account is fake and calling for its “destruction,” reports said.
Photo courtesy of the KMT caucus
He posted screenshots of his own posts on Facebook, presenting them as evidence of Chinese cognitive warfare, reports said, adding that DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) shared the Facebook post.
In his apology, Lin said that he has long participated in a “culture” of using different personas to debate politics online, a practice he has found “entertaining.”
The reports drew a heated response from opposition parties.
After the threat of Chinese manipulation during the 2018 local elections, the government passed laws against false news reports, the New Power Party (NPP) wrote on Facebook.
However, it seems that the threat is not only from Beijing, but also from the ruling party, the NPP wrote.
Lin attacked the government and supported the CCP, then used that activity to implicate Beijing, while DPP leaders used the PTT posts to call for an investigation, the NPP wrote.
Lin’s division of labor is clear and his excuse that he was just having fun has no merit, it wrote.
The NPP has itself experienced anonymous attacks indicative of the degradation of the nation’s online democratic environment, it wrote, adding that political parties that employ manipulative actions behind the scenes “cannot escape blame” and would be spurned by Taiwanese if they try to crush public opinion with manufactured debate.
The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) called on the DPP to tell the public how long it has been engaged in cognitive warfare.
Even President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) shared false information that Lin posted on Facebook, creating a major national security risk, TPP spokesman Tsai Chun-wei (蔡峻維) said, referring to a post on the president’s page urging people to “avoid being misled” and to not delete the CDC account.
The DPP says the nation must take precautions against cognitive warfare, yet it is leading the charge, Tsai Chun-wei said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said that the “ugliness of the DPP’s cyberarmy has fully manifested itself.”
It is sad that rather than fighting COVID-19, the DPP is fighting people’s perceptions, KMT caucus secretary-general Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said.
The DPP has a close relationship with Lin and has long used such tactics, Cheng said, calling on the president, who is DPP chairperson, to publicly apologize.
The DPP distanced itself from Lin and called attempts to link online comments to it “absurd.”
Although Taiwan is a democracy with freedom of speech, people must take responsibility for their actions, DPP spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said.
Lin does not work for the DPP, nor has he been hired by the party, Yen said.
Repeated attempts by the KMT to link the DPP to the comments of individual personalities online are “absurd and out of focus,” she said.
Additional reporting by Chen Yun, Lin, Liang-sheng and Yang Chun-hui
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