Chinese infiltrators plotting Taiwan takeover

Hands of the United Front seen in false news reports and distortion of results of last municipal elections

Asia Times
Date: June 28, 2019
By: Jonathan Manthorpe, Taipei

Protesters hold placards that say ‘reject red media’ and ‘safeguard the nation’s democracy’ during a rally on June 23 against pro-China media outside the Presidential Office in Taipei. With an election looming Taiwan is bracing for fake news and disinformation aimed at making sure Beijing’s preferred party wins. Photo: Hsu Tsun-hsu / AFP

Beijing’s long-threatened invasion of Taiwan is well underway, but its shock troops are not the foot-soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army. They are the shadowy agents of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “magic weapon,” who over the past decade have infiltrated Taiwanese society and institutions.

Since 2015 Xi has doubled the budget and responsibilities of the United Front, which aims to rally support for Chinese Communist Party objectives at home and abroad, often by creating groups and organizations that have no obvious affiliations with the party.

In Taiwan there is evidence that United Front operations distorted the results of last November’s municipal elections using the weaknesses that characterize any open democratic system.

Social media was used to spread blatantly false stories. Campaign funds were given to candidates favored by Beijing. And the leaders of villages and small municipalities were suborned into campaigning on behalf of candidates the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wanted to win.

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