US think tank: China spreads disinformation in Taiwan in favor of KMT's Han

Beijing may not get desired result in 2020: Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow

Han Kuo-yu.

Han Kuo-yu. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — More China-sponsored disinformation spread in favor of Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has been observed ahead of Taiwan's 2020 election, but Beijing may not get the result it wants in January, according to a Southeast Asia expert at a U.S. think tank on Thursday (Nov. 7).

Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has studied the upcoming election and listed several of the strategies China employs to interfere with Taiwan's presidential election.

With the election just 64 days away, Kurlantzick observed that China's aggressive disinformation campaign appears to be in full swing. However, unlike in 2018, Taiwan's media regulators and people have become more aware of China's effort to shape voters' opinions.

In addition, the monthslong protests in Hong Kong highlight a long-standing grievance towards China's strong influence in the city's politics, leaving a very negative impression of Beijing and making Taiwanese voters, especially younger ones, warier of China-friendly candidates.

On top of the Taiwanese government's effort to curb disinformation, a social media platform is also taking action. To counter rumors ahead of Taiwan's presidential election, Facebook announced on Wednesday (Nov. 6) that those wishing to run political advertisements on its platform in Taiwan will be required to disclose their identities and pay only in the local currency.