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China Accused of Meddling in Taiwan’s 2024 Vote

Last Updated on 2024/01/09

Allegations of Chinese Interference in Taiwan’s 2024 Presidential Election.

In the lead-up to Taiwan’s highly significant presidential election, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has accused the People’s Republic of China (PRC) of interfering in the electoral process. This accusation comes amidst heightened cross-strait tensions between the PRC and the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, highlighted that China had consistently attempted to influence Taiwanese elections since the island’s democratization. The current election, described as closely contested, has seen various alleged interference methods by Beijing.

Alleged Chinese Tactics: Economic Coercion to Cyberwarfare

China’s tactics, as alleged by the DPP, range from economic pressure to cyberwarfare and disinformation campaigns. The recent cessation of tariff cuts on certain Taiwanese chemical imports has been interpreted as an economic sanction tied to Taiwan’s political stance.

Taiwan has been a significant target for cyberwarfare and disinformation, particularly around election times. Lai Ching-te, the DPP’s presidential candidate, termed China’s interference as “unprecedented,” encompassing various means to influence the election outcome.

While there has been a noticeable reduction in direct military provocations from China, the recent reports of over 25 Chinese balloons flying through Taiwan’s airspace, including some over sovereign territory, have raised new security concerns. This development suggests a strategic shift in Beijing’s approach to exerting pressure on Taiwan.

Specific Incidents

  • Legal Action Against Local Leaders: Taiwanese authorities are prosecuting almost 200 local leaders who traveled to China, suspecting these trips were part of an influence operation.
  • Targeting Popular Culture: Chinese authorities reportedly threatened Taiwanese band Mayday with fines for lip-syncing, a banned activity in China, after the band refused to make pro-Beijing comments.
  • Deep Fakes and Online Disinformation: A deep fake video of DPP’s Lai and online content promoting conspiracy theories and fake news have been used to manipulate public opinion.

Interestingly, while Beijing has intensified its influence operations, there has been a noticeable reduction in direct military provocations, such as air defense identification zone incursions. However, more than 25 Chinese balloons have been reported flying through Taiwan’s airspace, with some over the main island, raising concerns about new forms of intimidation.

The international community, particularly those with vested interests in Taiwan’s democratic processes and regional stability, is closely monitoring these developments. The Taiwanese government’s forthcoming publication of a detailed analysis of China’s alleged election interference will likely provide further insights into these events.

The extent and impact of China’s alleged interference in Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election remain subjects of international scrutiny. While Beijing denies these accusations, the situation underscores the complex dynamics of cross-strait relations and the broader geopolitical tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Topics: Taiwan 2024 election, China Taiwan relations, election interference, cross-strait tensions, cyberwarfare in Taiwan, DPP and KMT, Asia-Pacific geopolitics, Chinese influence tactics, Taiwan’s democratic integrity, Beijing’s foreign policy
Sources: The Guardian

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