In the lead-up to Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections, a narrative of US skepticism, dubbed “Yimeilun,” is gaining traction, raising concerns about the steadfastness of Taiwan’s long-standing ally.
Disinformation experts suggest China may be behind these narratives, aiming to erode trust in the US and align Taiwan more closely with China. False claims, including poisonous US pork imports and baseless allegations of the Taiwanese government harvesting citizens’ blood for bioweapon production, have circulated.
China is seen actively amplifying these narratives through provincial propaganda departments and state media, with Taiwanese entities friendly to China also playing a role. This disinformation campaign seeks to influence public opinion, with polls indicating a decline in Taiwanese trust in the US, dropping from 45% in 2021 to 34% in the past year. US skepticism is rooted not only in conspiracy theories but also in highlighting negative aspects of US actions, contributing to Taiwan’s historical “orphan mentality.”
Analysts emphasize the need for American reassurances to counter skepticism and underscore the positive aspects of the partnership. While Taiwan strengthens defenses against disinformation, concerns about potential curbs on press freedom have emerged. Experts warn of evolving Chinese methods and caution against constant warnings about Chinese influence contributing to public fatigue and distrust of information.