Taiwan accuses China of spreading false news about new crown pneumonia outbreak

A Taiwanese official on Saturday (May 21) accused China of spreading false information about the new crown pneumonia outbreak, saying that’s why the government propagated and refuted false information circulating online.

After months of containing the pandemic, Taiwan is dealing with a surge in household infections, with the entire country on high alert, people being asked to stay home and many establishments closed.

China has long claimed democratically governed Taiwan as its part of the equation. And Taiwanese officials on Saturday accused China of spreading false information about the new pneumonia outbreak in an attempt to use “perception warfare” to undermine trust in the government and its response to the pandemic.

In an interview, Interior Ministry Undersecretary of State Chen Zongyan said they “clearly sense” the danger represented by China’s propaganda and misinformation about Taiwan.

He added: “The reason we continue to explain the content of the false information to everyone is to draw attention to it. We must stop it immediately and not let the war of perception affect Taiwanese society.”

Chen cited some examples of what he called fake news circulating online, including the fact that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was infected but covered up.

He said, “I want to say to everyone that this is indeed fake news.”

Tsai tested negative this week after it was confirmed that a worker at her residence was infected.

A security official who monitors Chinese activities in Taiwan told Reuters this week that the Taipei government believes Beijing is engaging in cognitive warfare to “create chaos” and undermine public trust in how the pandemic is being handled.

In a statement sent to Reuters on Thursday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Taiwan’s allegations were “fictitious” and that the government was trying to divert attention from the actual issue.

It added that Taiwan should “stop playing political games and take practical measures to control the epidemic as soon as possible.”

Taiwan said the weekend was crucial to breaking the chain of transmission and has urged people to stay home.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare released its social media mascot, a Shiba Inu named Total Chai, suggesting that people who are home alone can sing songs to keep entertained, such as Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai’s hit single “Lonely Tree.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said, “On weekends, please do not go out unless absolutely necessary.” The image shows General Shiba standing in front of a microphone wearing glasses.