COVID and Cognitive Warfare in Taiwan


In this study, we examine China’s cognitive warfare coordinated with military air operations during the COVID outbreak in Taiwan. In May 2021, Taiwan experienced its first outbreak with up to 500 daily cases. The Chinese government launched a series of “cognitive warfare” campaigns targeting Taiwan in addition to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) frequent air force incursions into Taiwan’s air zone. Meanwhile, through manipulation of vaccine supply, China turned COVID vaccine into a political issue in Taiwan involving multiple players including pharmaceutical developers, tech giants, and local politicians. Combining multiple sources of data, we analyze the Chinese government’s orchestrated cognitive and information warfare efforts targeted at influencing the Taiwan public’s trust in the DPP government as well as its home-developed vaccine. Identifying the patterns of influencing using cognitive and information warfare, we found China’s ultimate goal was to instill skepticism and confusion in Taiwan’s public about the Tsai administration’s health policy and more generally undermine the creditability of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government under President Tsai Ing-wen | Data and codes.

Journal of Asian and African Studies