Breaking News
Get 40% Off 0
Is NVDA a 🟢 buy or 🔴 sell? Unlock Now

Taiwan intelligence says China leadership discussed election interference -sources

Published Dec 07, 2023 11:08PM ET Updated Dec 08, 2023 01:40AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed Chinese and Taiwanese flags in this illustration taken, April 11, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Yimou Lee

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Senior Chinese leaders held a meeting in early December to "coordinate" government efforts to sway upcoming elections in Taiwan, according to intelligence gathered on the island, part of a campaign Taiwan officials see as voting interference.

Taiwan officials have warned that Beijing is trying to nudge voters toward candidates who seek closer China ties in the Jan. 13 presidential and legislative election, which is happening as China ramps up military and political pressure to try to force the democratically governed island to accept its sovereignty.

The meeting in Beijing was held by the Chinese Communist Party's fourth-ranked leader, Wang Huning, who is also deputy head of Beijing's Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, chaired by President Xi Jinping, according to multiple Taiwan security officials who discussed the matter with reporters.

Senior personnel from agencies including China's Publicity Department, State Security Ministry, Defence Ministry and the Taiwan Affairs Office attended, the Taiwanese security officials said, citing intelligence gathered by Taiwan. Those officials requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

U.S. President Joe Biden asked Xi to respect Taiwan's electoral process last month.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment. When commenting on the elections, it has said it respects Taiwan's "social systems".

The other Chinese government departments did not respond to requests for comment. The State Security Ministry has no publicly available contact details.

The meeting focused on "ensuring the effectiveness and coordination of various work on the Taiwan elections", according to an internal Taiwanese memo summing up its intelligence on the Chinese meeting.

The meeting concluded that different agencies should "consolidate" their work on Taiwan, with the Publicity Department and a psychological warfare unit under the People's Liberation Army, called "Base 311", running influence campaigns to sway public opinion via news outlets and social media, the memo said.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office and the United Front Work Department were tasked with reaching out outreach programmes that included exchange activities with Taiwan politicians and discounted air tickets for Taiwanese living in China to fly home to vote, it added.

The memo said China would continue to "play up the narrative of a 'choice between peace and war'", which posits that if the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stays in power, a war with China is likely.

Beijing has repeatedly called the DPP dangerous separatists and urged Taiwanese to make the "right choice". The DPP's presidential candidate, Lai Ching-te, is leading in the polls.

Taiwan's government is on high alert for what they see as China's attempts to interfere in the elections by illicitly funding Beijing-friendly candidates using communications apps, group tours or misinformation campaigns, internal security reports reviewed by Reuters show.

Beijing has also sponsored cut-price trips to China for hundreds of local Taiwanese politicians ahead of the elections, Reuters has reported, citing sources and documents.

"They are coordinating their work on Taiwan in the final days to the elections," said one of the sources, a senior official familiar with Taiwan's security planning. "They want the best outcome possible."

In the meeting, Beijing also concluded that it must "adjust the pace" of their campaigns, that senior official said, pointing to negative reactions in Taiwan after recent Taiwan government scrutiny over the cut-price trips, as well as comments on Chinese state television, which has called the DPP's presidential candidates an "independence double act".

"If you are too obvious with election interference it could backfire," the source said.

(This story has been refiled to change the headline)

Taiwan intelligence says China leadership discussed election interference -sources

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email