Premier warns public about becoming tools of Chinese propaganda

TAIPEI (CNA) – Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday warned the public not to become unwitting tools of Chinese propaganda as Beijing ramps up efforts to spread fake news through social media aimed at creating division in society.

In a Facebook post, the premier accused China of taking advantage of Taiwan’s openness to spread false information to disrupt local society and encourage confrontation among the people of Taiwan.

The communist regime will use all means at its disposal to pressure Taiwan, not just military intimidation, Su wrote, noting that Beijing uses a multitude of methods to realize its objective, especially through the internet.

Earlier in the day while attending a religious temple ceremony in New Taipei, he was asked about rumors suggesting China has recently been trying to create a local cyber army that leans toward Beijing through social media and local websites.

Premier Su called on the public to remain wary and not fall into China’s trap as it disseminates fake news to boost its campaign to annex Taiwan.

Also on Saturday, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka told CNA that the government is aware of such issues, and will continue to combat the dissemination of fake news aimed at creating social unrest.

The Executive Yuan is mulling another amendment to the Criminal Code against those that help spread false information, she said.

“We cannot let outside forces take advantage of Taiwan’s freedom while harming our democracy,” Kolas said.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), meanwhile, said it will work with relevant agencies to follow up on the situation and those caught violating the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area will be punished according to the law.

By Elaine Hou and Ko Lin