Beijing using ‘cognitive warfare’ to sway Taiwan public opinion by feeding it misinformation, warns report

Beijing using ‘cognitive warfare’ to sway Taiwan public opinion by feeding it misinformation, warns report

Mainland China has been waging “cognitive warfare” against Taiwan, using weapons such as misinformation and an army of online trolls in an attempt to sway public opinion in Beijing’s favour, a local think tank has warned.

The report said that so far the effect had limited due to relatively strong anti-Beijing sentiment, but it urged the government to remain on guard in case it started to influence public sentiment to the extent that it influenced policy decisions.

According to the Institute for National Defence and Security Research, a government-funded think tank, Beijing has been launching a new type of cognitive warfare against Taiwan by using its troll army to try to change the paradigm of thinking and eventually the behaviour of the Taiwanese public.

It said it was trying to use both official and unofficial channels, including mainland, Taiwanese and international media organisations and social media, to feed the public misinformation in an attempt to stoke resentment towards President Tsai Ing-wen’s government.