Chinese capital is behind the recent acquisitions of two leading Taiwanese media firms as well as a polling and consulting company.
These transactions have been linked to Beijing’s conspiracies to influence a number of upcoming elections, as voters will go to polling stations next month to select a new mayor for Taipei as well as the heads of other local governments.
“Executives of media corporations visited Beijing earlier this year, where they held talks with Chinese government officials and were given guidelines and instructions about campaign strategies,” the Liberty Times and the Apple Daily Taiwan cited a source in the intelligence department as saying.
It is believed that the two media firms concerned are United Daily News Group which is affiliated with the Kuomintang and Want Want ChinaTimes Media Group, which owns the China Times newspaper and CTI Television network.
“It is a fact that China has been giving money to groups in Taiwan to create all kinds of conduits and networks to interfere with our elections. Our judicial and investigation agencies have gathered a lot of evidence to back this up,” Taiwanese Premier William Lai said in a media interview on Tuesday.
Officials with the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau also told lawmakers that Beijing had been pumping in funds to back pro-reunification candidates and their vote brokers like those with the Kuomintang.
The funds have been used to finance banquets, gifts and memorabilia for voters in specific constituencies as well as media junkets to China.
“We have been monitoring the situation for quite a while and have sufficient evidence for the bureau to investigate these cases,” said the official.
Taiwanese papers say the island’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has turned over 40 cases of alleged online dissemination of disinformation and fictitious news to prosecutors.