Referendums 2021: CCP links Ractopamine pork to anti-U.S. rhetoric

IORG Dokidoki Alert ﹋ No. 16 ﹏ 2021.4.1-11.21

  • Author = IORG
  • Published = 2021.12.2 12:00

Summary

In this Dokidoki Alert, IORG presents 8 information manipulation narratives with CCP participation between April 1st and November 21st, 2021. These narratives might affect public opinion and vote on the referendums on December 18th, 2021. In addition, 2 government narratives are also presented here due to oversimplification and unfalsifiability in both supporting and opposing statements. IORG argues that these narratives are not conducive to the public discourse, risk being used to further mislead and widen existing divides, and hinder the reinforcement of Taiwan’s democracy.

In the lead up to the referendums, IORG will publish one Dokidoki Alert each week for 3 consecutive weeks, exposing information manipulation with data science and provide evidence to CCP involvement. We hope this would help you, Taiwan’s voters, to cast your most informed vote on December 18th.

Narratives

Features

Nodes

  • CCP
  • China
  • Other

Clarification

Taiwan purchased American ractopamine pork and weapons, therefore it should receive American vaccines

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Bad causality
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media participation
  • U.S. delegation announced to give 750,000 doses of vaccines to Taiwan on June 6th, 2021.

Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hongkong

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Not fact
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media initiation

Taiwan’s ractopamine pork products are on sale in Hongkong, so ractopamine pork is also being sold in Taiwan

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Not fact
  • ❌ Bad causality
  • 🇨🇳 Extension from CCP narrative

At least 8 LINE messages in 7 groups

The ruling party imports ractopamine pork, selling out public health

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Lack scientific evidence
  • 😰 Appeal to fear
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state agency participation
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media participation

Taiwan’s military has eaten American ractopamine pork

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Not fact
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media participation

Chinese state media quotes netizens to equate ractopamine pork with addictive drugs (“poisonous substance”)

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ False equivalency
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media initiation

Due to the benefit of a long-term natural gas contract signed between Taiwan and the U.S., DPP must promote Taichung Coal-fired Power Plant, build Guantang LNG Terminal, kill algal reefs, and abolish the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Bad causality
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media participation

160 countries have banned ractopamine pork import

  • Info manipulation
  • ❌ Not fact
  • 🇨🇳 CCP state media participation

In addition, there are 2 government propaganda found in a relatively large quantity of Facebook posts. Readers should stay alert.

Narratives

Features

Supporting nodes

  • TW gov
  • Other

Opposing nodes

  • KMT
  • CCP
  • Other

Banning ractopamine pork is banning American pork

  • 🇹🇼 Gov propaganda
  • ✅ Status quo
  • ⚠️ Oversimplification

Taiwan will be unable to join CPTPP if ractopamine pork import is banned

  • 🇹🇼 Gov propaganda
  • ⚠️ Unfalsifiability

Based on the abovementioned 10 narratives, IORG has the following conclusions:

  • 7 of the 8 information manipulation narratives are related to ractopamine pork, 1 is related to the protection of algal reefs and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. 2 government narratives also concern ractopamine pork.
  • Based on the limited number of cases, ractopamine pork is more likely to be a topic of information manipulation among the 4 referendum topics. IORG argues two reasons: (1) Ractopamine pork directly concerns Taiwan-U.S. relations, the CCP has strong incentives to influence and direct Taiwanese public opinion towards U.S. skepticism and hostility. (2) Food safety is a sensitive topic to the people of Taiwan. By promoting health concerns on ractopamine pork, the CCP can amplify people’s distrust towards the Taiwanese government.
  • CCP participation can be found in all of the 10 narratives. Among the 10 narratives, 2 are initiated by the CCP: “Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hongkong” and “Chinese state media quotes netizens to equate ractopamine pork with addictive drugs (“poisonous substance”)”.
  • “Taiwan purchased American ractopamine pork and weapons, therefore it should receive American vaccines”, “Banning ractopamine pork is banning American pork” and “Taiwan will be unable to join CPTPP if ractopamine pork import is banned” have the most number of Facebook posts, far outnumbering other 7 narratives.
  • CCP quotes netizens to spread these 2 narratives in criticizing the Taiwanese government: “The ruling party imports ractopamine pork, selling out public health” and “Chinese state media quotes netizens to equate ractopamine pork with addictive drugs (“poisonous substance”)”. Similar situation has also been found in DA.10.
  • Despite clarifications from Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) and Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the false narrative “Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hongkong”, initiated by Chinese state media Wen Wei Po (文匯報) continues to spread among among LINE chat groups, and evolves into the narrative that “Taiwan’s ractopamine pork products are on sale in Hongkong, so ractopamine pork is also being sold in Taiwan”. The updated narrative implies that “Taiwan actually has ractopamine pork” and “the government is lying”.

Full version of this Dokidoki Alert is available in Taiwanese Mandarin. Please visit https://iorg.tw/da/16 for more.

Also…

  • Dokidoki Alert