Following Russia’s invasion of their nation, Ukrainian students are seeking new lives in Taiwan, drawing similarities with China. They are pulled not just by a sense of connection created by living under the constant danger of invasion from a much larger and increasingly hostile neighbour, but also by Taiwan’s democracy.
With the surge in Chinese training near the Taiwan Strait, analysts are concerned that the Communist Party may use Ukraine’s incursion as a chance to strike Taipei. China, which considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, has warned that it will ‘not hesitate to start a war’ if the island declares independence.
In the midst of an outpouring of popular sympathy for Ukraine in Taiwan, a public fundraising effort raised approximately US$33 million in just four weeks. Tunghai Institution students’ scholarships were made possible by a contribution commitment of around US$1.38 million to the university, with President Tsai Ing-wen and other key officials each contributing a month’s salary to the cause.
Tsai used a photo of Taiwanese orchids spray-painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag to draw comparisons between Taiwan’s predicament and Ukraine’s. The photo quickly went popular on social media. The US has warned that an attack on Taiwan will cause a catastrophe for semiconductor chips, which are critical to the worldwide technology economy.