Doublethink Lab chairman Puma Shen speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

MEDIA, SOCIETY FOCUS: Doublethink Lab said that Beijing is trying to coerce countries that rely on China economically to pursue policies in its favor

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer

China has stronger influence over Taiwan's media and society than any other country, the Taipei-based Doublethink Lab think tank said yesterday, as it announced its China Index gaining Beijing's global influence.

Taiwan ranked 11th overall among 82 countries assessed, but first in terms of social and media influence, Doublethink Lab chairman Puma Shen (Shen Boyang) told a news conference in Taipei.

More than 200 experts and academics participated in the project, including some highly influential figures, Shen said.

The index collects information from countries worldwide to gauge China's influence and assess how Chinese policies affect them, Shen said.

In terms of Chinese influence in academia, the US ranked first, while other US sectors are affected by China's efforts to weaponize trade, Shen said, adding that European nations, which have established measures to combat Chinese influence, are among the least influence.

Beijing attempts to extend its influence through manipulation of the media and academic interaction, as well as trying to coerce other nations to adopt foreign policy goals in its favor after their economies have become reliant on China, Shen said.

These acts are part of Beijing's objective to create a new world order under the “Chinese model,” which runs contrary to the rule of law concept embraced by the West, Shen said.

Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand and other Asian countries are heavily affected by China in the fields of economy and technology, Shen said.

The index was also referenced in the “China's Global Influence and Interference Activities” hearing on Thursday at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an independent US government agency.

Taiwan, which has resisted such influence by introducing flexible policies, was invited to the hearing to share its experience and provide suggestions on resisting China's influence, Shen said.

The US executive branch should counteract China's manipulation and propagation of false information so that Washington can remain in a global leadership position, Shen said.

Taiwan and the US should consider establishing a joint center of excellence to draft policies to combat Chinese influence, as well as international standards to resolve the spread of false or manipulated information, Shen said.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES