China debunks Taiwan war rumors by threatening legal repercussions.

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China debunks Taiwan war rumors by threatening legal repercussions.

The Chinese leadership has again had to dismiss concerns that the country is on the brink of conflict with Taiwan amid a buildup of nationalist fervor.

The democratic island, which China claims as a province, has complained of routine Chinese military operations near its southern shore in international airspace. In the greatest show of force yet, 150 People’s Liberation Army aircraft harassed Taiwan’s air defenses between October 1 and 5.

Beijing has never ruled out using force against the island to accomplish what it calls “national unification,” warning that if the aim is not met on its terms, it will resort to “resolute measures.”

However, the inflexible, hawkish stance—made more uncompromising by ultra-nationalism stoked by official propaganda and state media reports—has backfired in unforeseen ways, with certain segments of the populace vulnerable to rumors of a war declaration impending.

China’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian was asked about “heated public opinion on both sides of the Taiwan Strait” on Thursday at a monthly press conference in Beijing, which led to the spread of fake government notices purporting to require former soldiers to re-enlist in order to fight Taiwan.

Wu emphasized that civilians should only get military information through approved means and that the internet was not above the law.

“It is absolutely irresponsible and illegal to spread such military-related misinformation on specific web sites,” he continued.

The government has had to respond to war rumors for the second time this month. After pushing civilians to stockpile vegetables, grains, noodles, cooking oil, and other basics on November 1, China’s Commerce Ministry unwittingly stoked panic and rumors about military action. The suggestion was based on the likelihood of another COVID-19 lockdown, according to the state-owned Economic Daily newspaper, but the incident illustrated the perils of building nationalism in a closed-information environment.

In recent years, cross-strait relations have deteriorated, coinciding with rising political and military tensions between Beijing and Washington. The United States’ vocal support for Taiwan has heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei, which increasingly sees itself as a hazardous front-line fighter against Chinese aggression. China claims that the US is using Taiwan as a deterrent. This is a condensed version of the information.

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