Focus Taiwan: Taiwanese media ‘assisting’ China’s influence campaign: U.S. analyst

“What is particularly unique to Taiwan is that the traditional media here has a tendency to amplify viral posts,” said Michael Mazza, a Asia-Pacific security issue specialist, at a forum titled “Chinese Communist Party’s Influence Campaign” held at the Institute of National Defense and Security Research (INDSR).

“There are large number of T.V. stations, radio stations, newspapers here in Taiwan. That’s led to a race to be first, and sometimes viral posts being reported in traditional media before being verified,” Mazza said.

Another unique challenge in Taiwan is media ownership, as some individuals and companies with extensive business interest in China own media outlets in Taiwan, and that leads to conflict of interests, he further said.

Other old school methods used by China to influence Taiwan include paying people to attend rallies, offering good odds on preferred candidates through underground gambling rings to affect voting patterns, and building ties with local civil political leaders, Mazza said, based on his own research.

Mark Stokes, Executive Director of the Project 2049 Institute, proposed during the same forum that the Chinese Communist Party’s influence operations in the U.S. is aimed at pushing the “one China principle,” which Stokes described as false.

“The reality is that Taiwan, under its current Republic of China Constitution, exists as an independent sovereign state,” Stokes said. However, he noted, that the U.S. manages relations between Taipei and Beijing from a policy perspective which is a different issue.

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