Taiwan News: China Accused of Spreading 'Fake News' to Influence Elections

Taiwan News: China Accused of Spreading 'Fake News' to Influence Elections
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A national security source says China has mobilized some 300,000 cyber operatives to target Internet users here in Taiwan with "fake news" ahead of the November 24 local elections.

The source was cited as saying the Chinese cyber operatives are spreading fake news through social media, including Weibo, Facebook and YouTube.

Additional national security sources have said the Chinese propaganda campaign is also targeting the island's mainstream print media as well as its radio and television networks.

Reports say Beijing is using the local elections as a testing ground for its plans to ensure that a pro-China candidate is elected in the 2020 presidential election.

The government has said it will take action to stem the flow of disinformation.

In September, legislators proposed amending Taiwan's National Security Act to crack down on disinformation campaigns. However, the proposed measure was criticized by free speech advocates.

Read More: Taiwan Takes Centerstage in Global Fight Against 'Fake News'

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao (姚文智) questioned whether his main rivals for Taipei's top job are 'China Proxies' during a first televised debate.

According to Yao, Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ting Shou-chung's (丁守中) support of the so-called "1992 consensus" and incumbent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) opinion that "the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family" are proof that both candidates are seeking closer ties with Beijing.

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Credit: Youtube Screenshot
According to DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Pasuya Yao, incumbent Ko Wen-je is failing to - as Ko would say - 'do things right.'

However, Yao's claims were shot down by Ting, who accused the DPP Taipei mayoral candidate of "distorting the truth" because any unification would be under Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People political doctrine.

Ding also said he is loyal to the Republic of China and explained that when he was a lawmaker he promoted exchanges with the Communist Youth League of China to promote friendship and avoid conflict.

Ko did not attend Sunday's first debate due to it conflicting with other pre-arranged events. He did release a statement in which he said people with questions about his performance can find the answers on Google.

Those who Google Ko, of course, will likely come across his viral rap video, which has surpassed 1.7 million views on YouTube since its release less than two weeks ago.

A second live televised Taipei mayoral debate is scheduled for November 10.

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DPP lawmaker Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said same-sex marriage should be protected under Taiwan's Civil Code, while a law professor contended that revising the law will adversely affect society during a debate on the Same-Sex Marriage referendum.

The referendum will ask voters the question: "Do you agree that the Civil Code marriage regulations should be used to guarantee the rights of same sex couples to get married?"

The Civil Code currently defines marriage as a contract between a man and a woman. But the Constitutional Court ruled in May 2017 that the law was unconstitutional because it did not protect the rights of couples of the same sex who wanted to get married.

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Credit: Reuters / Tyrone Siu
Same-sex marriage advocates shout before rendering signatures to call for a referendum over equal marriage outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei, Sept. 4, 2018.

Supporting a change in the Civil Code, Tuan argued that if people agree that marriage should be protected by law, such protections should not differ for a marriage between a man and a woman and one between two men or two women.

However, opponents of same-sex marriage marriage argued that its legalization would jeopardize the possibility of natural reproduction and could lead to a declining fertility rate.

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Members of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering are visiting Taiwan to today to begin assessing the country's anti-money laundering practices.

According to the executive secretary of the Cabinet's Anti-Money Laundering Office, the evaluation is important, because without it Taiwan could lose its status as one of the group's member states and be deemed a high-risk country for money laundering.

The Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering uses a "mutual evaluation," or peer review, program to assess how well members are complying with international anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism standards.

Yu Li-cheng (余麗貞) said that if Taiwan fails the review, Taiwanese businesses would be subject to enhanced monitoring, which will hurt their international competitiveness. Foreign banks would also be less willing to work with their Taiwanese counterparts.

Taiwan is one of the founding members of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

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The newly elected head of the Chinese Taipei Football Association said his office is looking forward to amateur soccer matches between teams of migrant workers becoming regular fixtures.

Speaking to reporters, Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said he is also open to the idea of amateur migrant workers' football teams competing in local tournaments organized by the CTFA in the future.

According to Chiou, one of his goals is to systematize existing amateur soccer games and tournaments in Taiwan, which he says will include migrant worker teams and leagues participating in local tournaments if they are interested. However, Chiou says details of such a proposal still have to be discussed.

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Organizers of a Pokemon Go event in Tainan said more that 600,000 players have attended the five-day tournament since it began last Thursday.

The event is taking place Tainan Metropolitan Park and the Chimei Museum and is being co-organized by the Tainan City government.

Participants were there to hunt for imaginary monsters, including extremely rare Pokemon, including a rare version representing Tainan, that are color variants of standard Pokemon.

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Credit: EXP.GG.TW / YouTube Screenshot
70-year-old Chen San-yuan (陳三元), known as 'Uncle Pokemon,' plays the game on 15 mobile phones and has gained international celebrity.

Organizers say they initially hoped to attract some 300,000 people. The event ends today.

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A ceremonial boat worth over NT$7 million (US$228,061) has gone up in flames to mark the end of a traditional festival aimed at warding off disease in Pingtung's Donggang District.

The boat was carried from the Dong Long Temple to a beach in the township after being loaded with offerings and set ablaze to send five visiting deities, known as 'Wang Ye', back to heaven.

The Wang Ye are "invited" to the community to tour the area and "inspect" local villages and then brought to the boat on the last day to take bad spirits, disease, and calamities with them when they return to the heavens.

The event is held every three years.

The temple says some 10,000 people witnessed the burning of the boat, which marked the end of the eight-day festival.

Read More: In South Taiwan, a Polluted Village Prepares for Relocation

This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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