Recently uncovered evidence shows that the Chinese regime paid at least five Taiwanese media groups, including a television channel, to publish several articles to improve their image. The purpose was to gain the goodwill of Taiwan’s inhabitants, as one of the objectives of its “reunification” agenda.
One such paid article said that China “treated Taiwanese businessmen like its own people,” and mentioned the “unprecedented” advantages and incentives they were supposed to receive, trying to dispel suspicions of a threat to Taiwan, according to an investigation by Reuters, published Aug. 9.
Although this strategy of improving the image of the Chinese communist regime through this kind of news has been in place for almost a decade, only now are the details of the agreements coming to light. The process began when the Taiwanese government and the Chinese regime agreed to strengthen their economic ties.
The people who provided the documents asked to maintain the anonymity of the media companies so as to protect the workers.
Among the data provided is the figure of 4,300 dollars paid for two reports on the regime’s attempts to attract Taiwanese businessmen to the continent.
“It felt like I was running propaganda and working for the Chinese government,” said the informant who told Reuters about the events.
Several of the payments were made by the Office of Taiwan Affairs and others by various offices of the communist regime.
The Taiwan government stated that it had knowledge of these operations on the part of Chinese agencies and that sanctions of up to $16,000 had been imposed.
Also, Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of the Ministry of Continental Affairs of Taiwan, said that the freedom of the press enjoyed by Taiwan, a democratic country, is being used by mainland China to damage the freedom of the island’s own press, and therefore they would seek to strengthen the laws to avoid such strategies.
Taiwan’s Continental Affairs Council also made a statement on the issue.
“The Mainland Affairs Council seriously urges the Beijing authorities to immediately stop such clumsy and inferior actions and to stop the wishful thinking that it could replicate the way it controls media domestically in Taiwan,” the Council wrote, according to VOA.
The regime’s intrusions are manipulating the island’s media, which are beginning to depend on income from the mainland.
Among the effects pointed out by media employees, it is noted that the anniversary of Tiananmen’s repression in 1989 is no longer covered journalistically, and that information is biased in favor of the presidential candidate who is a friend of the communist system.
“Their ultimate goal is unification,” said one source, who oversees Chinese activities on the island. “They think it is better to win the hearts of the people than to start a war,” according to Reuters.
In the same vein, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, noted that false news from China can be widely disseminated in Taiwan through social networks.
According to the president, Beijing aims to “polarize Taiwanese society and generate conflicts.”
To combat the prevalence of false news in Taiwan, the Taiwanese foundation Media Watch established the Taiwan Facts Corroboration Center, a non-profit organization, in July 2018. One of its missions is to verify the authenticity of public information and news.
While Taiwan is a full democracy with its own constitution, government, and army, in the view of China’s authoritarian, one-party regime, it is a rebel province that will one day have to rejoin mainland China, using military force if necessary.