Are Taiwan-based Forums, Websites, and Groups in English Being Used in China's Online Efforts Against Taiwan?

It’s been in the news recently that China has been using social media and other online service to influence opinion in or generally disrupt Taiwanese society. Some efforts have included efforts to buy FB pages that have a pro-independence theme, but the accounts sending the messages used phrases unusual for a Taiwanese Mandarin speaker.
I’ve seen posts on Reddit that seemed to find random things to criticize about Taiwan, like how taxis or McDo doesn’t take credit cards, often from new accounts who stuck around to double down and point out how great are the nearby countries that do. Fewer but similar things have popped up in FB forums related to Taiwan. It depends on the vigilance of the admins, some of which appear to be absentees, how long they stay on the forum.
A recent post on this forum has even been questioned. This is the only Taiwan-based English-language forum I follow. I follow some Chinese-language ones, but the Taiwanese do a good enough job of pointing out what’s wrong in Taiwan to know if there are any shills.
Most post on English-language forums and travel sites seem to purposed to drive tourists away from Taiwan, while the Chinese-language ones seem purposed to promote a positive view of China and/or unification with China. It’s reminiscent of the pre-Brexit, pre-Trump days of Russian mass-Internet-influence where they coyly tried to change Western opinion of Russia. That may have been before they realized the power of social media and went after bigger fish. The Chinese may be doing the same thing but with a (with apologies) much smaller target.

Wrapping up, am I just paranoid, or do you think Taiwan-based/themed social media in English are part of a possible targeted campaign by the Chinese which may or may not be happening? I’m just curious about what other people think about this. Probably most think it’s true without proof, but I’m more curious about those who have reason to believe it. I’m not yet convinced, and I’m not sure what difference it would make.


Easy. Yes, of course.

Highly doubt that this forum would be of any interest as almost nobody has voting rights.

1 Like

yes, this is happening

Both taxis and McDs take credit cards. Of course, not all taxis, as a beaten up 1989 model driven by a retiree might not carry a reader, but taxis from big companies take credit card, easy card, New electronic payments, etc.

Sometimes the criticism is from newbies who expect this place to be like home. Sometimes the criticism has an agenda. As said, it is clear when it is one or the other. And from whom.

IMHO it is also Taiwan government at fault. They are so distrustful of foreigners, on one hand, not to say too many in positions of power lean towards China, that pro Taiwan voices or at least neutral voices, cannot fit in the discussion. See how difficult it is for news media to get permission to come here, let alone visas.


I think they are just being used from outside , sometimes .
According to an article published by Xiao Qiang on her website China Digital Times, a leaked propaganda directive, sent to 50 Cent Party Internet commentators, stated their objective was the following:[34][35]

In order to circumscribe the influence of Taiwanese democracy, in order to progress further in the work of guiding public opinion, and in accordance with the requirements established by higher authorities to “be strategic, be skilled,” we hope that internet commentators conscientiously study the mindset of netizens, grasp international developments, and better perform the work of being an internet commentator. For this purpose, this notice is promulgated as set forth below:

(1) To the extent possible make America the target of criticism. Play down the existence of Taiwan.

(2) Do not directly confront [the idea of] democracy; rather, frame the argument in terms of "what kind of system can truly implement democracy.”

(3) To the extent possible, choose various examples in Western countries of violence and unreasonable circumstances to explain how democracy is not well-suited to capitalism.

(4) Use America’s and other countries’ interference in international affairs to explain how Western democracy is actually an invasion of other countries and [how the West] is forcibly pushing [on other countries] Western values.

(5) Use the bloody and tear-stained history of a [once] weak people [i.e., China] to stir up pro-Party and patriotic emotions.

(6) Increase the exposure that positive developments inside China receive; further accommodate the work of maintaining [social] stability.[34][35]

How dare you.

I think that’s the point I was badly making. The target of the English-language forums seems to be mostly on the theme of "Do not go to Taiwan because (other Asian country) is better.
This sort of campaign would be multi-tiered if if it exists.

I am not pro unification, and I am against the CCP, that clears things up, very clearly.

Well, if the current pattern in elections across the Western world, with a heavy turn towards populist right wing nationalists shows, democracy’s Aquiles heel is fear, manipulation of uneducated masses through media, both social and formal.

The fourth power supposed to help with checks and balances in Taiwan started going downhill with marketing competition on 24 hour channels, then Chinese money to buy its way in and sold out owners who control the discourse.

Right now they are feeding that we can buy peace by capitulation. That Taiwan will be spared if it gives in. That we are all Chinese and there can be great earnings in becoming part of the super power of the 5 millennia. That they are in pain and poor and things will get worse unless they open up to the Chinese market and let Chinese come in en masse.

People are in pain and poor because they get low salaries from companies that have their money bet on China. Owners who hate Taiwan as they see it only as a stepping point, a colony to draw resources from. The same corruption and power plays that got them kicked out from China, despised by their people, all the landlords and warlords that sparked the bloody revolution, those ran away here. And still hold to the belief they can go back to rule over China.

China took over Tibet more as a bet to conquer water resources for the whole region. Taking over Taiwan is more of a strategic plan to strangle South East Asia and take over control of maritime routes. For starters. If Taiwan falls, it will doom the rest to war. There will be no peace.

Yeah, that seems to be similar to what Russia was doing before they realized democracy was more useful (some think).

I think XK6845-001-453INT has hacked your account.

No, but I only say INiT when I’m home.

A classic reply. Yeah taxation without representation, we should start a revolution but I think there is only about 100 of us on here plus about a dozen communist bots.
The bots usually have flawless English.

Are you referring to the “American” lawyer who was attacked by a “thug” in Wanhua after going to a public swimming pool and trying to take a nap? He stated that it’s very dangerous here but when he ran into some trouble in China, the police were there to help him. You got me thinking now. I’ve seen hysterical posts by so called “net citizens” on youtube, Facebook and it’s often pretty clear that they are trying to skew the discussion in a certain direction. A number of people have already commented about this guy’s post in that something is a bit off. Things just don’t add up.

1 Like

There are lik 2 English sites about Taiwan that have some sort of relevance, this one and r/taiwan and I doubt either has been targeted beyond a few shill accounts. Like @sampomixer is saying, no one can vote up here, and anything negative about Taiwan gets heavily downvoted to obvilion on r/taiwan.

ish, but far beyond.

It seems like the purpose on English-language forums, subreddits, etc. would not about the political climate but about tourism. It’s not necessarily gov’t sponsored. There are a lot more independent actors than people are willing to believe. The US election “manipulation” (if any of it is true) would have had a lot more independent actors than people think. As I said, multi-tiered. They don’t care how we on this forum vote. But if even a few tourists google “taiwan tourist safety” and a few negative links pop on the front page, job done.

I find it hard to imagine that the traffic here would be enough to make it a target for attention from a state. I mean why bother putting in the effort when the readership is much higher elsewhere?

However I think people looking for a reaction do tend to go for the China button for sure.

If I were botting, I would target any site with over 5,000 users with 10% of those being regularly active. That’s on social media (and wrong). I don’t know what good parameters might be for forums. But a simple search tells me that Forumosa has over 200k views per month and 64% of those are from search. Almost 40% of that traffic is from outside Taiwan. That’s about 80k views per month outside Taiwan. Some of that are regulars, Taiwanese expats and former residents who still love a good fight, but if even 10k are potential tourists, it’s a worthy target. I’d hit that if I were promoting my tourist agency or recruiting teachers or students or turning away tourists. Or spamming my news website.

Once again, the point is not influencing those who regularly use the forum because we live in Taiwan and we’re old and who cares about us? The purpose would be to have negative information about Taiwan pop on searches.
This would be bigger than one site if it’s true. The question is if it’s happening in English-language media in all formats to deter tourist from visiting Taiwan. It’s about SEO. The best person to ask about this would actually be K-man, ask @taiwannews886, because whatever you think about his grammar he totally knows how to get clicks, and so does anyone who does want to manipulate tourists.


time to go agro… create blacklist hearings with “Are you or have you ever posted on behalf of a Communist entity”…