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China's Misinformation Campaign: Undermining Taiwan's Morale

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
8th July 2023
China's Misinformation Campaign: Undermining Taiwan's Morale
According to officials, China aims to manipulate public sentiment (Getty)

China has embarked on a strategic campaign of misinformation aimed at sapping Taiwan's morale and weakening its resolve to resist Chinese influence. Taiwan officials have revealed that China is spreading news reports alleging that Taiwan's president has an "escape plan" in the event of a Chinese invasion. This deliberate disinformation is intended to create panic and erode public trust in Taiwan's leadership, further pressuring the island nation to accept Chinese sovereignty. As Taiwan prepares for its crucial annual military exercises, known as the Han Kuang drills, it faces an uphill battle in countering China's efforts to manipulate public opinion and perceptions. 

China's Misinformation Campaign Targets Taiwan

China's relentless efforts to sway public opinion in Taiwan have raised concerns among Taiwanese officials. They have observed a surge in news reports that contain deliberate misinformation about Taiwan's military activities and its alliance with the United States. By distorting the truth and spreading false narratives, China aims to manipulate public sentiment in Taiwan and erode trust in the island's leadership. The ultimate objective is to undermine Taiwan's resolve to maintain its autonomy and resist Chinese influence.

Han Kuang Drills and the Portrayal of an "Escape Rehearsal"

The upcoming Han Kuang drills hold significant importance for Taiwan's military preparedness. These exercises simulate the defense of Taiwan against potential threats. However, China has seized this opportunity to spread false information, claiming that the drills are, in fact, an "escape rehearsal" for President Tsai Ing-wen and evacuation drills for U.S. citizens in the event of a Chinese invasion. Such misleading narratives aim to sow panic among the Taiwanese populace and weaken public trust in their leadership.

China's misinformation campaign utilizes various channels to disseminate fabricated news reports. These reports often originate from online news sites run by China's Taiwan Affairs Office before being published in media outlets in Taiwan and Hong Kong. By creating the illusion of credibility through these outlets, China seeks to legitimize its false narratives and influence public opinion in Taiwan.

Beijing's Role in the Campaign

The Chinese campaign of disinformation is orchestrated by the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, chaired by President Xi Jinping. Several government units, including the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, are involved in executing the campaign. This coordinated effort reflects China's determination to achieve its long-term goal of asserting sovereignty over Taiwan and weakening its international standing.

Taiwan's Response to the Disinformation

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Office, responsible for formulating China-related policies, acknowledges China's persistent attempts to damage the Taiwanese government's reputation, divide society, and erode international support. In response, Taiwan's government is committed to promptly clarifying false information and demonstrating its unwavering determination to defend its sovereignty through concrete actions.

Propaganda about China's Military Capabilities

In recent weeks, Chinese and Taiwan news outlets have published numerous reports claiming that China possesses the capability to destroy an entire U.S. carrier group with 24 ballistic missiles. These reports cite a research paper based on a computer-generated war simulation conducted by a Chinese university affiliated with the People's Liberation Army. However, experts working closely with Taiwanese security officials have been unable to reproduce the same results, debunking the claims as Chinese propaganda.

Taiwanese researchers have dedicated substantial resources to verify the credibility of China's claims through computer-aided simulations. Despite their efforts, they have been unable to replicate the reported outcomes. This inability to reproduce the results casts doubt on the credibility of China's claims and reinforces the notion that they are part of a wider campaign aimed at instilling fear and discouraging Taiwan from making necessary preparations for its defense.

The Objective of China's Fearmongering

China's extensive disinformation campaign aims to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt within Taiwan's society. By capitalizing on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the Taiwanese people, China hopes to weaken their support for the Taiwanese government and erode their determination to resist Chinese influence. It is crucial for Taiwan to recognize the motivations behind China's fearmongering tactics and fortify its defenses against such psychological warfare.

Misbar’s Sources:


NBC News

The Telegraph