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Home The News News Beijing might be using Eslite customer data: party

Beijing might be using Eslite customer data: party

China might be using a suspected leak of personal information from the Eslite bookstore chain to wage cognitive warfare against Taiwanese, the Taiwan Statebuilding Party said yesterday.

Cynthia Yang (楊欣慈), deputy secretary-general of the Here I Stand Project, told a news conference in Taipei that she received a telephone call on Saturday night from a woman who said she worked at Eslite’s marketing department.

The woman asked Yang if she wanted to participate in an opinion survey the company is conducting among its customers.

From left, Taiwan Statebuilding Party Taipei chapter convener Wu Hsin-tai, Here I Stand Project deputy secretary-general Cynthia Yang and Taiwan Statebuilding Party secretary-general Wang Hsing-huan attend a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

She also said that the book If China Attacks (阿共打來怎麼辦), which Yang bought from Eslite’s online site in February, contains “inappropriate” content.

Yang agreed to participate in the survey and prepared to record the conversation.

A man, who also identified himself as Eslite staff, but seemed to have an accent unlike Taiwanese, called 10 minutes later to conduct the survey, Yang said.

The man had no intention of concealing his position and said “the Chinese military’s capabilities are strong, so there is no way Taiwan can win a war,” Yang said.

He repeatedly said that “the US will not help,” “Taiwanese soldiers are afraid to fight,” “the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] is better” and “unification with Taiwan is inevitable,” she said.

The man also did not know that Taichung is a city in Taiwan, she added.

Yang said she told him that “people who bought the book will not be brainwashed by you.”

“This was not a scam call, but a call to wage cognitive warfare,” she told the news conference.

She asked how the callers knew what book she had purchased and demanded an explanation from Eslite.

Taiwan Statebuilding Party secretary-general Wang Hsing-huan (王興煥) said the personal information of Eslite customers might have been leaked and used by China to conduct cognitive warfare against Taiwan.

Information security is a national security issue, so the Ministry of Digital Affairs should shoulder the responsibility for this incident, he said.

China is using telephone polls to spread conspiracies and rumors, such as that the military is not strong enough to repel a Chinese attack, and that the KMT would bring peace while the Democratic Progressive Party would bring conflict, he said.

The government should take the issue seriously, as China is targeting specific Taiwanese with these calls, he said.

Wu Hsin-tai (吳欣岱), convener of the party’s Taipei chapter, urged government agencies to curb Chinese propaganda.

Eslite yesterday on its Web site said that it would continue to boost its information security and regularly provide reminders about fraud to its readers.

Additional reporting by Ling Mei-hsueh

Source: Taipei Times - 2023/05/13

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