On the evening of Dec. 22, Taiwanese prosecutors confirmed the arrest of Lin Hsien-yuan, a journalist of the online news site Fingermedia. They said they suspected him of concocting a “fabricated” presidential poll and taking direction from the Chinese Communist Party in Fujian province, across the Taiwan Strait. The fake poll “misled voters about the electoral situation, infiltrated and interfered in Taiwan’s presidential election, and endangered Taiwan’s sovereignty and democratic constitutional order,” the Taichung Public Prosecutor’s Office said. Taiwan’s Jan. 13 presidential election is seen as one of the most consequential in years for the democratic island – and perhaps the most important election in Asia in 2024. Depending on who wins, it could chart a course closer to China, continue to keep its distance or even lead toward eventual conflict with its far larger neighbor, which claims the island as its own territory.
In that context, Fingermedia had some surprising news in early December: For the first time, Hou Yu-ih, the opposition Kuomintang candidate, had reversed previous opinion polls and was now ahead of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party candidate Lai Ching-te, also known as William Lai. “Hou pulls ahead of Lai for the first time, leads by 1.22 percentage points” read the headline from Taiwan’s EBC News, citing the Dec. 3 report by Fingermedia.
The three candidates were polling as follows, the report said: Hou Yu-ih and Jaw Shaw-kong for the Kuomintang: 33.22% Lai Ching-te and Hsiao Bi-khim for the Democratic Progressive Party: 32.00% Ko Wen-je and Wu Hsin-ying for the Taiwan People’s Party: 20.33%
In Taiwanese politics, the center-right Kuomintang, or KMT, favors greater engagement with the People’s Republic of China, while the center-left DPP, which has been in power for eight years, embraces a more independent stance. Lai, the current vice president, has blasted the KMT as being “pro-communist,” saying only he can preserve Taiwan’s autonomy. The KMT has denied being pro-Beijing, and instead accused the DPP of being too reckless in its interactions with China. Beijing, meanwhile, views Lai as a separatist, and has cast the election as a choice between war and peace. The poll results went viral in Taiwan, and also circulated in China – odd for the previously unheard-of Taichung-based Fingermedia. Reports of the poll spread rapidly in Taiwan under the hashtag “Hou Yu-ih overtakes,” and also found their way into news outlets in China, including Taiwan.cn, which is affiliated with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Sina Hong Kong and iFeng.
Amid suspicious signs, AFCL launched an investigation into a company’s connections to mainland China and the conduct of a poll. AFCL journalists consulted several individuals, including Lin Hsien-yuan and Taichung-based Providence University’s retired professor Su Yuan-hwa. Before Lin’s arrest, AFCL uncovered numerous issues with the poll, highlighting Lin’s strong mainland ties, which cast doubt on the poll’s credibility. Prosecutors allege that the supposed pollsters fabricated results without conducting actual opinion polls. Here is what AFCL found. Middle men the news of the arrest was on the net and a very few information about the Taiwanese journalist.
May l get the latest news.