In the Spring of 2014, not long after Ukraine's Maidan revolution, a grassroots movement swept across Taiwan, rejecting an economic pact with the neighboring People’s Republic of China that the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party was trying to impose on the country. 

The Taiwanese protest movement, championed by students and various civic groups, occupied government buildings and culminated with half a million-strong march in central Taipei. 

Many Taiwanese expressed fear of facing their own “Crimean” scenario, because their situation with China was similar, in many ways, to the circumstances between Ukraine and Russia which led to Maidan. 

Today in Taiwan, Lai Ching-te, the candidate of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the presidential election and extended DPP’s rule for an unprecedented third term. 


Together with Hsiao Bi-Khim, DPP’s vice-presidential candidate and until recently Taiwan’s envoy to the US, candidate Lai presented a line that most Taiwanese aspire to – maintaining the country’s freedoms, increasing its prosperity and securing its sovereignty. 

Unable to articulate a coherent view on relations with Taiwan’s powerful neighbor, the former ruling party KMT lost the third presidential election in a row. In a sign of how far the KMT has drifted from the aspirations of ordinary Taiwanese, Ma Ying-jeo, Taiwan’s former President and one of KMT’s heavyweights,recently stated in an interview that Taiwan’s annexation by China could be acceptable. 

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China’s latest military exercise took place unannounced three days after the island nation’s presidential inauguration and covered certain outlying islands for the first time.

It is worth noting that, in the run-up to the election, just as hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese voters gathered in rallies around the country, international media obsessed about only one thing: “How will Beijing react if DPP is the winner?” 

Ukrainian readers certainly recognize the pre-2022 pattern: the Western media’s obsession with Russia’s interests, allegedly framed as “core” or “legitimate.” Experts from a realist school of international relations would chime in, cheering on Russia’s poise in the series of Minsk negotiations. 


Many realists are under the illusion that the nature of the regime does not matter for international relations; that frictions and conflict emanate from impersonal “structural” forces. But Ukraine’s tragedy and Taiwan’s uneasy peace are the direct effect of the nature of the neighboring regimes – in Moscow and in Beijing. 

Tragically, global media have little access to the inner workings of the Kremlin and Zhongnanhai, tending to parrot the lines emerging from Moscow’s and Beijing’s mouthpieces. This is why when China’s President Xi Jinping claims that the election in Taiwan, in which he has no say as a non-citizen, would be “between war and peace,” the global media grab the sensationalist headline without understanding two things: i) its insignificance (he’s a non-citizen); and ii) and the potential impact, in that he’s trying to sway Taiwanese voters and prevent the West from respecting the nation’s preferred choice.


Before Feb. 22, 2022, Western media was similarly too focused on what it heard from Russian President Vladimir Putin and not did not devote enough attention to what was actually happeningin the sovereign nation of Ukraine. All previous events – whether the Orange Revolution or Maidan – were seen through the lenses of the bully next door. 

Today, it’s no different with Taiwan. This makes today’s election results in Taiwan even more heroic and historic. 

Also today, Ukrainians continue to stand for their right to freedom and pay the price with blood to stand up for that freedom. The Taiwanese have spoken too. It’s high time thatWestern media focused more on what Ukrainians, Taiwanese and many other threatened countries think, desire, believe and do, and less on the spiteful propaganda that flows from the communist or post-communist compounds of empires whose very existence is threatened by their neighbors’ thirst for democracy. 

Tomasz Nadrowski is a New York-based analyst and host of the Tyranny Today podcast.


The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post. 

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