September 30, 2022
Taiwan’s Model for Communications If China Attacks

Taiwan’s Model for Communications If China Attacks

China considers democratically governed Taiwan as its territory.


The digital minister said on Wednesday that Taiwan is looking at ways for Ukraine to communicate its message to the outside world in times of conflict, using tools such as satellites and deploying humor.

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

“We look at the experience of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. We found that the whole world can know what is happening there,” Audrey Tang, the head of Taiwan’s new digital affairs ministry, told Reuters.

Tang said Ukraine had effectively delivered its message to the world, adding that maintaining high-quality communication in real time was key to its effort.

“It is not only for our own people but also for those who care about us all over the world so that we can get the help of international friends.”

China regards democratically-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has never abandoned the use of force to bring it under Beijing’s control. The government of Taiwan strongly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty.

Among Tang’s plans to preserve communications if China strikes is a $550 million ($18 million) satellite test program over the next two years to ensure Internet services in Taiwan.

The goal, she said, was to maintain social stability and keep Taiwan’s command system operational by “immediately” switching to alternative forms of communication, such as satellites in middle and lower orbit.

He said several Taiwanese companies are in talks with international satellite service providers after legalizing such service in Taiwan, but did not give any details.

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

Tang helped craft Taiwan’s public message for the COVID-19 pandemic, using memes and humor to fight propaganda, much of which the government accused China of spreading, though Beijing denied it.

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

“As we have seen with the Ukrainian example, there are also people who use the ideas of comedy, but of course internet memes, to spread a message that rallies people.”

A prolific Twitter user with more than 250,000 followers, Tang said she was not bothered by the online attacks, which could include allegations that she is a separatist.

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

Asked about China using social media in its messaging campaign against Taiwan in the event of war, Tang said this was already happening.

“It’s my daily life from my point of view. Already, the kind of hype you call it, the kind of narratives that are going on on Twitter, we already face daily.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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