Some Taiwanese Youtubers on CCP payroll: intelligence chief

05/16/2022 12:57 PM
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Image for illustrative purpose only. Source: Pixabay
Image for illustrative purpose only. Source: Pixabay

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Taiwan's top intelligence chief on Monday said that some local internet celebrities were being paid by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to conduct "cognitive warfare" campaigns in Taiwan and help Beijing spread propaganda in the country.

National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said that one recent example happened in early March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine when a Taiwanese internet celebrity on TikTok claimed that the Chinese government was offering to evacuate Taiwanese people.

The NSB later found that the TikToker was in fact not even in Ukraine himself but based in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, Chen said, adding that the person had been trained by CCP to use social media to spread propaganda as part of its "united front" efforts against Taiwan.

Chen said the NBS had a full grasp on such "cognitive warfare" campaigns and that the related authorities were investigating, without elaborating.

Chen made the comments on the sideline of a Legislative session in response to media reports that Beijing has been training and paying Taiwan-native Youtubers to influence young Taiwanese on media platforms, such as TikTok and Little Red Book, also known as Xiaohongshu, the Chinese equivalent of Instagram.

According to a report from the Chinese-language Liberty Times Monday, a number of high-profile Taiwanese Youtubers based in China attended the fifth Cross-Strait Youth Development Forum in Hangzhou last Wednesday, during which they shared their successes in running their self-media platforms while encouraging more Taiwanese youths to join them.

The report quoted ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers who had called on Taiwan's government to come up with measures to counter China's use of Taiwanese Internet celebrities to conduct "cognitive warfare" against Taiwanese.

According to Chinese media reports, the Wednesday event was joined by around 450 guests and youth representatives from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, including former opposition Kuomintang Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱).

(By Joseph Yeh)

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