‘Humour over rumour’: Taiwan’s messaging model if China attacks

Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang attends an interview with Reuters at the Ministry of Digital Affairs on September 14, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan. – Reuters
  • Taiwan is watching Ukraine’s ways of getting its message across.
  • China’s war games, the blockade exercises around Taiwan, have raised concerns.
  • China considers the democratically governed Taiwan as its territory.

TAIPEI: Taiwan is looking at Ukraine’s methods of communicating its message to the outside world in times of conflict, using tools such as satellites and deploying humor, the digital minister said on Wednesday.

China’s war games and blockade exercises around Taiwan, following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last month, have raised concerns about the possibility of an invasion of the island by its larger neighbor. .

Audrey Tang, head of Taiwan’s new Ministry of Digital Affairs, said, “We look at the experience of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.” We found that the whole world can know in real time what is happening there. Reuters.

Ukraine has effectively communicated its message to the world, Tang said, adding that maintaining high-quality communications in real time is critical to its efforts.

“This is not only for our own people, but also for those who care about us around the world so that we can get help from international friends.”

China considers the democratically governed Taiwan as its territory and has never shied away from using force to bring it under Beijing’s control. Taiwan’s government strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

Among Tang’s plans to secure communications if China attacks is a satellite trial program worth T$550 million ($18 million) over the next two years to ensure Internet service across Taiwan.

The aim, he said, was to maintain social stability and operate Taiwan’s command system by “immediately” switching to alternative forms of communications, such as medium and low-orbit satellites.

A number of Taiwanese companies are in talks with an international satellite service.

Looking for a partnership after such a service is legalized in Taiwan, he added, he did not give further details.

For example, Ukraine is using Elon Musk’s StarLink satellite broadband service.

Tang helped develop Taiwan’s public messaging for the COVID-19 pandemic, using memes and humor to combat misinformation, much of which the government blamed China for spreading, although Beijing denied it.

“We say publicly that our playbook is ‘humor on rumours,'” he said.

“As we have seen with the example of Ukraine there are people who use the ideas of comedy, but definitely internet memes, to spread a message to people.”

Tang, a Twitter user with more than 250,000 followers, said she is unfazed by online attacks, which can include accusations that she is a separatist.

Chinese state media make heavy use of Twitter and other Western social media platforms, even though they are banned in China.

Asked about China’s use of social media in a messaging campaign against Taiwan in the event of war, Tang said it was already happening.

“From my perspective, it’s my everyday life. Already, the kind of propaganda you call it, the kind of narratives that are going on Twitter, we’re exposed to every day.”

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