Civic groups and national security experts on Tuesday criticized the government for failing to counter Chinese rhetoric that aims to sow dissent between Taiwan and the US through disinformation, and create a favorable media environment supporting an invasion.
Kuma Academy CEO Ho Cheng-hui (何澄輝) said China’s “information warfare” against Taiwan is geared toward creating social conflict and inciting unrest.
Beijing’s disinformation campaign included sowing doubt over the efficacy of the Taiwanese-made Medigen COVID-19 vaccine and claiming that under-the-table deals took place for the approval of the vaccine, as well as claiming that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s Arizona plant is a US ploy to “steal” it from Taiwan, which was an attempt to sabotage Taiwan-US relations, Ho said.
Ho said that Russia has also conducted similar cognitive warfare in 42 nations — not to build international support for its military endeavors, but to claim that Ukraine was “unworthy” of support.
Beijing would replicate this tactic and undermine the international community’s confidence in Taiwan’s resolve to withstand a Chinese invasion, he said.
Meanwhile, a source from the national security sector, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Taiwan is exposed to Chinese attacks, as it has no defenses against cyberattacks, which is Beijing’s favored medium.
The Ministry of Digital Affairs, created half a year ago, is “doing nothing,” the source said.
The nation has no designated agency to take action on Chinese cyberattacks and identify potential threats, such as TikTok, the source said, adding that the government must shore up its online defenses.
Institute for National Defense and Security Research assistant research fellow Tzeng Yi-suo (曾怡碩) said many Web sites collect user data to display customized content, adding that TikTok is one of the few platforms that accurately gauge users’ interests.
Tzeng said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has asked for TikTok’s algorithms, adding that by Chinese law, TikTok cannot refuse a government demand.
He said the government should improve Taiwanese Internet users’ media literacy and counter China’s “united front” rhetoric.
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