TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Monday (Aug. 8) announced that China has launched 272 attempts at spreading disinformation in Taiwan during the past week.
During a press conference that afternoon, Major General Chen Yu-lin (陳育琳), deputy director of the Political and Warfare Bureau, pointed out that since the start of China's live-fire drills last week, fake news such as an alleged missile attack on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the apparent proximity of a Chinese warship to Taiwan's east coast have circulated on social media. Chen said that because of the rapid development of online communities and digital media, warfare strategies have changed dramatically from the past, especially in the sphere of cognitive warfare.
Chen said that damaging Taiwan's network and deepening divisions can have a key influence on the outcome of the battlefield. According to MND statistics, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 8 (12 p.m.), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has launched 272 attempts to spread disinformation, with a high percentage taking place between the military exercises that have thus far run from Aug. 4-8.
After further analysis, the MND has divided the times into three categories and compared the number of items of disinformation before and after the start of the live-fire drills. The three categories are "creating an atmosphere of unification by force," "attacking the government's authority," and "disturbing the morale of the military and citizens."
When it came to disinformation that sought to create an atmosphere of unification by force, there were 13 cases before the military exercises began and 78 during the drills, for a total of 91. Instances of attacking the government's authority rose from 12 before the exercises began to 39 during the drills, resulting in 51 total attempts.
The lion's share of disinformation was targeted at disturbing the morale of the military and citizens. While there were only six incidents before the exercises, once they got underway, there were 124. These items of disinformation have been copied and disseminated a great deal, and Chen warned that they cannot be underestimated.
Chen emphasized that the armed forces responded to the disinformation by taking steps such as verification, traceability, clarification, and countermeasures. She also called on the public to focus on information released by the MND and not heed rumors.