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《TAIPEI TIMES》 China’s ‘influencer’ tactic slammed

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liang Wen-chieh speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Lin Che-yuan, Taipei Times

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liang Wen-chieh speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Lin Che-yuan, Taipei Times

2024/06/14 03:00

HU GE NEWS: The actor visited Taipei and was on the same flight as an official Shanghai delegation, leading to accusations Taipei City was doing ‘united front’ work

By Chung Li-hua and Jason Pan / Staff reporters

Taiwan is open to healthy interactions with China, but Beijing should not engage in “united front” campaigns, a Cabinet official said yesterday following a report that China is paying influencers to produce content it approves of.

YouTuber Potter King (波特王) said that the Chinese government has been paying Taiwanese content creators to travel to China and produce videos favorable to Beijing.

Cabinet spokesman Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱) said that the government welcomes healthy and sustainable interactions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but China should not use “united front” tactics in the culture and entertainment sphere to target young Taiwanese.

Potter King said that numerous insiders had told him that the Chinese government is paying a lot of money to sponsor YouTubers and other content creators to produce social media videos.

“Starting next month, people will start seeing videos of Taiwanese YouTubers and other content creators traveling to attractions and historic sites in China, and sharing positive views of their experiences to promote China to young Taiwanese,” he said. “About 10 production teams of some well-known YouTubers are participating in the campaign.”

“From what I know, their travel, food, accommodation and other expenses are being paid for by the Chinese side,” he said. “They were invited under an official tourism program arranged by a Chinese state-funded organization that focuses on organizing cross-strait cultural exchanges for young people.”

Potter King’s descriptions came after Chinese celebrity Hu Ge (胡歌) visited at the same time as a delegation from Shanghai and held a “youth dialogue” event in Taipei.

Chen was asked about the visit of Hu, 41, a film and television actor who arrived on the same flight as a delegation of Shanghai officials.

The delegation was in Taiwan to meet with the Taipei City Government to plan the Twin City Forum.

Hu and the delegation arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on Wednesday.

Hu hosted the youth event at Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (松山文創園區) before returning to China on a flight early yesterday.

The short stay was reportedly to keep Hu’s visit a low-key affair and not to create a political fuss.

However, Hu was greeted at the airport by fans and was photographed walking through the airport alongside Zhong Xiaomin (鍾曉敏), the head of Shanghai’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) said that the Taipei City Government was complicit in arranging Hu’s “united front” event, which was meant to “influence young Taiwanese.”

Hsu asked who provided the money to arrange the visit and whether any laws had been broken.

Taipei City Government spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) denied that it had invited Hu.

City officials were focused on preparations for the forum, Yin said.

The list of people in the delegation did not include Hu, Yin said, adding that Zhong and other Shanghai officials were the only members named.

“We did not know Hu Ge was on the same flight as the Shanghai delegation,” Yin said.

“Hu was in Taiwan on a cultural exchange and we hope people would view his visit in a positive light,” he added.

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) said that Hu had applied with it to visit Taiwan.

“We gave approval, as his application was based on only one activity, the dialogue session with students,” Liang said.

“He was not authorized to participate in any other programs during his time in Taiwan,” he added.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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