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Taiwan: The CCP Interfered with a Taiwan Referendum

On December 18, Taiwan held four referendums. The Kuomintang, the opposition party, proposed all four of them to challenge the current administration’s decision. The voting result, though close between yes and no, rejected all proposals.

The Information Operations Research Group (IORG), a Taipei-based research group focusing on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) information manipulation and influence over Taiwan, found that the CCP conducted a heavy information war on one of the referendum topics: whether to ban imports of pork containing the leanness-enhancing additive ractopamine.

Researchers pointed out that the CCP took on the ractopamine pork issue to ruin the Taiwan-U.S. relationship. The Taiwan government approved the pork imports last year, to remove a block for a free trade deal with the U.S. where ractopamine is widely used.

The IORG report found that from April to November this year, there were eight main hot discussions on the referendums and all of them could be traced back to the CCP. Among them, seven were about the ractopamine pork. On April 10, Beijing’s media started spreading a rumor that “the U.S. gets money from Taiwan by selling ractopamine pork and weapons.” In May, when COVID cases increased in Taiwan, the CCP’s media said, “Even after buying the U.S. ractopamine pork and weapons, Taiwan still cannot get COVID vaccine from the U.S.” After the U.S. announced that it would donate 750,000 doses of vaccine to Taiwan, the CCP changed its story line to, “Because Taiwan bought the American ractopamine pork and weapons, it should get the American vaccines.”

Other CCP information manipulation on ractopamine pork included spreading incorrect or fake news without scientific backing. Some examples follow: “Hong Kong detected Taiwan pork with ractopamine severely exceeding the standard.” “Taiwan soldiers ate the American ractopamine pork,” “Over 160 countries banned ractopamine pork,” “Following netizen’s words, China’s media called the ractopamine pork ‘drugs.’”

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Source: VOA, December 16, 2021