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Ukrainians in Taiwan call for asylum law outside Russian representative office

Protesters' call echoed by Taiwanese civic groups

Protestor with T-shirt featuring Ukraine's flag holds Taiwanese and Lithuanian flags at protest outside Russia's office in Taipei on Marc...

Protestor with T-shirt featuring Ukraine's flag holds Taiwanese and Lithuanian flags at protest outside Russia's office in Taipei on Marc... (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Several Ukrainian residents gathered outside Russia’s representative office in Taipei to protest Moscow’s invasion of their homeland, demanding an immediate ceasefire and calling on Taiwan’s government to offer asylum to Ukrainian refugees.

Several civic groups joined the Ukrainians, including the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and the Economic Democracy Union, according to CNA. Together they called out slogans such as “Support Ukraine,” “Stop the War,” and “Glory to Ukraine (a national salute in the country).”

Ukrainian participant Vadym Komisar said she feels proud of her country's military, medical teams, and people.

Russian forces have struck all parts of her country, she added, destroying buildings, injuring children, and forcing people to seek refuge underground. But Ukraine will not give up and will fight for its land, its family, and its future, she said.

Another Ukrainian woman, Tanya Polyak, said her country needs more support and donations from the world, especially medical resources and food. She urged Taiwanese not to buy Russian products and to stop all business dealings with the country.

Ukraine is now fighting for democracy and freedom on behalf of the whole world, she said.

The group read out its four key demands at the rally:

  1. Russia's military invasion of Ukraine is a serious violation of international norms, and Moscow should withdraw its troops immediately to stop this unjust war and accept subsequent sanctions.
  2. We call on the international community and national governments to put aside political calculations and take all appropriate measures to support the government and people of Ukraine in the spirit of humanity and human rights.
  3. Russia and China’s authoritarian regimes threaten the international community and the world must remain alert and watch out for actions by Beijing to take advantage of the chaos in Europe to invade Taiwan as well as deepen its oppression of human rights in Tibet, East Turkestan (Xinjiang), and Hong Kong.
  4. We call on Taiwan’s government to enact a refugee law as soon as possible and establish an asylum mechanism to better protect the Ukrainian people in Taiwan and assist Ukrainian refugees who may seek asylum in Taiwan.

There have been efforts to enact an asylum law in Taiwan for a number of years. In 2019, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ruled out the possibility of such an act after Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) called for it during the height of the police brutality and civil unrest in that city.

“Our current laws have provided sufficient foundations for us to offer assistance to Hong Kong’s people when necessary,” Tsai said at the time. However, research has concluded there are several groups in Taiwan that would legally benefit from a stand-alone asylum law, including Hong Kong protesters who face persecution back home, descendants of Kuomintang veterans of the Chinese Civil War who settled in the Thai-Myanmar border region as well as Turkish nationals with revoked passports.