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Taiwan TV Station Apologises Over Report of Chinese Attack

The alerts included messages such as “a war could break out”, a train station in Taipei being set on fire and Taiwan’s president declaring a state of emergency


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An anchorwoman said the alerts were meant for a drill with the fire department in New Taipei City on Tuesday but were mistakenly displayed on Wednesday morning because of a technical error. Photo: Reuters

 

A Taiwan government-backed television station apologised and urged people not to panic on Wednesday after mistakenly reporting a Chinese attack in Taipei amid rising military tensions with Beijing.

During a live news broadcast on Wednesday morning, Taiwan’s Chinese Television System mistakenly showed news ticker alerts at the bottom of the screen about warships and infrastructure near Taipei being hit by Chinese missiles, according to local media.

The alerts included messages such as “a war could break out,” a major railway station in Taipei being set on fire by “Chinese agents” and Taiwan’s president declaring a state of emergency.

“Citizens, please don’t be overly panicked. We hereby clarify the information and apologise,” an anchor said in the network’s news bulletin at 10am.

She said the alerts were meant for a drill with the fire department in New Taipei City on Tuesday but were mistakenly displayed on Wednesday morning because of a technical error.

 

Taiwan Alert Level Raised

There were no overt signs of panic in Taipei after the accidental bulletins.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and has stepped up military activities nearby in the past two years.

Taiwan has raised its alert level since Russia invaded Ukraine, wary of China making a similar move, though the government has not reported any signs an attack is imminent.

The war in Ukraine has prompted debate on the implications for Taiwan and ways to boost preparedness, such as reforms to the training of reservists.

Last week, Taiwan’s military released a handbook on civil defence for the first time, giving citizens survival guidance in a war scenario.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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