China netizens wage fake news war against Taiwan amid coronavirus scare

Chinese social media accounts found to be tampering with Taiwan’s coronavirus-related notices

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/03/02
By: Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

A security guard wearing a face mask in Beijing.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese netizens have been engaged in an intensifying disinformation campaign against Taiwan that seeks to undermine the country’s efforts to fend off the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Government notices related to disease prevention have become the latest target in what the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MOJIB) calls a “mudslinging campaign” staged by netizens from China, according to a news release. The methods, which are constantly changing, aim to mislead the public and disrupt social order, the agency warned.

One tactic has been targeted at notices issued by Taiwanese authorities that contain text in images, with traditional Chinese characters being doctored into the simplified form used by China. Using fake accounts, the perpetrators then label such notices as falsified, the Investigation Bureau found.

Other instances include news footage from media outlets like Taiwan Television Enterprise (TTV) and Sanlih Entertainment Television being manipulated by Chinese netizens on Weibo and Di Bar and then disseminated on Taiwanese social media. One alarming example reads “President Tsai in isolation ward after contracting the novel virus,” said the MOJIB.

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