What’s Up Last Week?
This week, IORG presents 3 suspicious narratives and problematic behaviours of information manipulation. Stay alert.
U.S.-Taiwan arms sale: Taiwan people “want vaccines, not weapons”
X-1080-DZO4 X-105L-9G18 X-10E5-SVL3 X-109M-JADO X-10BX-DZY9 X-10FE-8F7L
Unable to disproof
CCP propaganda quotes Taiwanese media and netizens to criticize U.S., Taiwan government, arms sale
X-104S-HFS1 X-107K-MXTS X-10D3-RQT3 X-10GO-GX78 X-10IW-IP8B X-10FP-MED3 X-10K6-J5LV X-10L8-82S7 X-10IR-R2YL X-10PQ-Z1KU X-10Q4-WF89 X-105P-0VUB X-10UK-YX84 X-10UY-XDEK X-1080-DZO4 X-10VK-L62M X-10XE-RZYL
Unable to disproof
Medigen vaccine clinical trial compensation: 10,000 U.S. Dollar in Paraguay, 6,000 N.T. Dollars in Taiwan
TW news media created false equivalence; Facebook page spread false content
X-107D-YALX X-107F-PUJA X-10S1-RWGN X-10SD-J6JB X-10TH-UZJ9 X-10UG-KCL4
The Olympics and the pandemic are the most talked about topics of last week. Among pandemic-related issues, “Indoor dining in Taipei Metropolitan Area”, “COVID-19 outbreaks in China”, ”5x stimulus vouchers”, “vaccines inspection and sealing”, “teahouses’ reopening in Taipei” are the most popular. Aside from the games, “Small S for Taiwan independence” and “Mirage fighter jets accompanying Taiwan’s Olympians” are the 2 most popular issues related to the Olympics.
Under Taiwan’s current vaccine shortage, a new narrative from Chinese state media was observed, linking vaccines to arm sales to potentially sabotage Taiwan-U.S. relations. August 4th, U.S. State Department approved the first arms sale to Taiwan of the Biden Administration. Chinese state media Xinhua X-1080-DZO4 published a report titled “Taiwanese society criticizes U.S.-Taiwan arms sale: we want vaccines, not weapons.” Content of the report quoted “analysis” from Taiwan’s China Times X-10FN-OZO6, saying that the sale is “rushed and overwhelming” (又急又猛) and financially problematic, while adapting a comment from a “Taiwanese netizen”: “Taiwan wants vaccines, not weapons.”
IORG has discovered multiple instances of Chinese state media quoting Taiwanese news reports and netizen comments in their propaganda responding to this U.S.-Taiwan arms sale. According to IORG’s database, at least 17 Chinese state media reports have quoted “Taiwanese netizens”, including 2 from Huanqiu X-104S-HFS1 X-105P-0VUB, 1 from CRI X-10FP-MED3, CCTV X-10IR-R2YL, and Xinhua X-1080-DZO4, and 12 reposting identical content. These reports highlights individual comments in criticizing Taiwan and U.S. government of “emptying out Taiwan” (淘空台灣), “cheating Taiwan people’s money” (又再騙台灣人的錢), “fraud” (敲詐), characterizing U.S. arms as “old” (中古), “garbage” (垃圾), and “scrap metal” (廢鐵), and Taiwan’s payment “protection racket” (保護費), claiming that “Taiwanese society” “want vaccines, not weapons”. Despite the lack of proper citation in these Chinese state media reports, IORG has identified that these comments are from the discussion sections of 3 Taiwanese news reports, published by United Daily News X-106D-9POV, China Times X-100I-NPJE, and Yahoo News X-1023-0792.
Taiwan’s locally-produced vaccine Medigen was found in an instance of false equivalency, a type of inference manipulation. August 3rd, Yi Media X-107D-YALX published a report titled “Medigen trial 10,000 U.S. dollars per person in Paraguay, 6,000 N.T. dollars in Taiwan.” The previous figure refers to the total cost of a single-person trial, while the latter refers to the “nutrition subsidy” Medigen pays to each individual participating in its trials in Taiwan. Yi Media’s report presented two figures together, prompting readers to compare them, which cannot be compared, creating a false equivalency. After publication, former NTHU infectious disease physician Kong Hsiang-chi (孔祥琪, or Lin Shi-bi 林氏壁) criticized the report as “full of malice” and “severely misleading”. According to IORG’s database, 5 Facebook pages have spread this false equivalency and false information of “Paraguayan paid 10,000 U.S. dollars each”: Big News Big Explosion (大新聞大爆卦) X-10S1-RWGN, Wan Direction Public Relations (旺世代包打聽) X-10SD-J6JB, Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) X-107F-PUJA, Ko God Is Never Wrong; President Tsai Is Dearest (千錯萬錯，柯神不會有錯！爹親娘親，不如小英主席親！) X-10TH-UZJ9, and Li Mei-jhen (李眉蓁) X-10UG-KCL4.
To close, suspicious or false information on “don’t get vaccinated” continues to appear. To reduce risks of infection and severe symptoms, IORG would like to encourage our readers to receive government-approved vaccines after medical consultation. Also, please stay alert for possible suspicious information on the “5x stimulus vouchers” and the lambda variant. Verify before sharing. Be mindful of information manipulation.
Full version of this Dokidoki Alert Weekly is available in Taiwanese Mandarin. Please visit https://iorg.tw/da/10 for more…
- Topic of Last Week: Olympics, COVID-19 in China, 5x stimulus vouchers, Medigen vaccines inspection and sealing, Taipei’s “tea houses” reopening
- U.S.-Taiwan arms sale: Taiwan people “want vaccines, not weapons”
- CCP propaganda quotes Taiwanese media and netizens to criticize U.S., Taiwan government, arms sale
- Medigen vaccine clinical trial compensation: 10,000 U.S. Dollar in Paraguay, 6,000 N.T. Dollars in Taiwan
- Suspicious Messages Editors’ Choice
- IORG Public Advisory