While fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan are growing with deteriorating US-China relations, the most serious threats the island faces on a daily basis are cyberattacks and fake news. Audrey Tang [Tang Feng de son nom chinois] was named [le 27 août] at the head of the new Ministry of Digital Affairs [elle suivait en tant que ministre sans portefeuille, depuis octobre 2016, le développement numérique]. In this interview from Taipei there are also ways to counter authoritarianism.
ASAHI SHIMBUN: When coming to Taiwan [en août] of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, number of fake news were broadcast, such as the one evoking an attack on the Taiwan airport by China.
AUDREY TANG: The objective is clear: to frighten and divide Taiwanese society. Those who spread fake news seek to influence people’s capacity for discernment. This is called “cognitive warfare”, or “hybrid warfare” if combined with military action.
Taiwan’s public institutions have suffered [pendant la visite de Nancy Pelosi] a number of cyberattacks 23 times greater than the previous record. President Tsai Ing-wen concluded that China was involved.
Taiwan attaches great importance to the origin – local or foreign – of the attacks. In this specific case, they were launched from abroad, passing through numerous relays. According to the results of an international study conducted by a Swedish institute [le Digital Society Project, du Varieties of Democracy Institute, à Göteborg]it’s nine years in a row that Taiwan has been the world’s first victim of foreign disinformation attacks since 2013 [devant la Lettonie et la Palestine, en 2022]. In recent years, the gap has widened between the island and the second-ranked country.
In June, you were in Italy to discuss with European ministers the “hybrid war” that is raging in Ukraine.
Apart from me, who represented Taiwan, 17 personalities from all over the world took part in this meeting behind closed doors. “Hybrid warfare” is not just about Ukraine and Taiwan. To stand up, the democratic camps must cooperate.
In terms of measures against cyberattacks, the example of Estonia (prey to Russian threats) is particularly intriguing.