Government says it can deal with fake news from China


The government has standard response policies in place regarding Chinese cognitive warfare tactics and would issue immediate clarification to mitigate any damage, Executive Yuan spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng said.

Lo was responding this week after police opened an investigation into whether Chinese cognitive warfare was behind a Facebook post by media personality Antony Kuo, who cited a doctor as saying that a lot of children in Taiwan are dying of COVID-19.

He said Taiwan’s strategy to counter Chinese cognitive warfare tactics is to deny access, issue immediate clarifications about false reports and provide accurate information, while stepping up training of government employees to recognize fake news and prevent its spread.

Lo said a lot of false information originating in China uses traditional Chinese characters and typical Taiwanese expressions, making it much more difficult to spot and counteract initially.

The key to a rapid government response is the development of tools to identify fake news online, as well as whether the accounts posting the false reports are dummy accounts, he said.

Lo said fake news is not the only form that Chinese cognitive warfare assumes, as it sometimes uses real information phrased in such a way as to cause division and incite conflict within the country.

Another type of cognitive warfare is doctoring news or images from two or three years ago and distributing them, he said.

Lo said the main sources of cognitive warfare and false information are Beijing’s propaganda, its supporters on the Internet, content farms and local enablers.

He said most state propaganda is released by government agencies, while patriotic Chinese often spread fake information fed to them by the state.

Fake news generated by content farms can have sources outside of China, Lo said, adding that these sites are usually influenced by Beijing.

He said, Local enablers — people living in Taiwan who supporting Beijing’s views — also help spread fake news, often without a direct link to Chinese officials, though some do trade commercially with China.



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