TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Netizens in China are able to reproduce official Taiwanese government documents and replace the words to spread fake news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, officials warned Friday (Feb. 28).
The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) has uncovered 432 cases of virus-related fake news. A total of 13 people have been referred to prosecutors for their alleged involvement in 12 cases, while 16 cases are still under investigation, CNA reported.
The latest example, which has emerged over the past two days, was the report that one could receive 10 masks if one took an official document published by the Cabinet to the pharmacy along with one's National Health Insurance card.
In reality, the document was a forgery, and the limit for the number of masks allotted per person per week is two, or four in the case of children 13 and under.
The MJIB called on the public not to disseminate such reports. At the heart of the recent wave of fake news from China is anger over the Taiwanese ban on mask exports, officials said.
In order to strike back, the Chinese netizens have fabricated information about the coronavirus outbreak and spread it online to target Taiwan, according to the officials.