In news that's vaguely reminiscent of the time Hawaiians received a false alert warning of an impending nuclear strike, a TV station in Taipei has apologized after falsely reporting that the island was under attack from Beijing.
During its morning news broadcast on Wednesday, the government-funded Chinese Television System warned on its lower-third news chyron that New Taipei City was under attack.
"New Taipei hit by guided missiles from the Chinese Communist forces. Ships at the Taipei Port [in New Taipei] exploded, facilities and vessels all destroyed" read one ticker that ran just after 0700 local time accompanying footage of a worker in full COVID gear disinfecting a workplace at the Presidential Office, according to SCMP.
There were other latest news ticker alerts that read "Banqiao Railway Station suspected under arson attack by enemy spies with explosives" and "New Taipei Government sets up joint emergency handling center as war is feared."
The broadcast continued to flash other apocalyptic warnings, including "Magnitude-7 powerful quake occurs in Taishan [New Taipei]", "Quake causes No 2 Nuclear Power to stop operation", and "Domestic airline plane crash-landed at Keelung River, fuselage breaks into two and many passengers trapped."
The TV station quickly apologized for the error and said it had accidentally broadcast captions from a fire department emergency drill.
SETN television news network reported that even the island's security authorities had been startled by the news and called the CTS news station director to ask what had happened.
The massive mistake, which caused many viewers to panic before heading out to work during the early morning hours, prompted Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang, and its supporters to ask that the National Communications Commission – the island’s broadcasting media regulator – punish CTS, possibly by taking it off the air.
Of course, the dry run might not be completely unjustified, since fears of an invasion by the mainland have intensified since Russia launched its incursion into Ukraine.