- Before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, Taiwan’s information space paid more attention to Russia. Afterwards, the attention has shifted to Ukraine.
- During the Russian invasion, Chinese state authorities and Taiwan-related state media outlets paid more attention to Taiwanese news reports than Russian ones. They quoted Taiwanese news more often than before the invasion.
- This report presents 12 manipulative narratives related to the Russian-Ukrainian war. 4 topics can be identified from these narratives: criticizing Ukraine, criticizing the US, supporting Russia, and abandoning Taiwan. First 3 topics are inline with the Russian official position.
- 6 narratives criticizing Ukraine – the war is Ukraine’s fault. It “provokes Russia” (挑釁), conducts “de-russianization” (去俄羅斯化) and “embraces neo-Nazism”. One narrative inappropriately equates Russian-Ukrainian relations with relations between former husband and wife. This narrative appeared on Chinese social media Weibo earlier than among Taiwanese Facebook pages. Another narrative deems Ukraine the “main accomplice” (主要幫兇) of military threat to Taiwan’s national security, implying that Taiwan should not support Ukraine or show sympathy to its people.
- 6 narratives criticizing the US as the initiator of wars – the war is America’s fault. It “provokes Russia” and “supports Ukrainian neo-Nazi”. The CCP further links this narrative to the 2019 Hongkong democracy movement and expands this conspiracy. These narratives are also linked to narratives that say the US will “abandon Taiwan”.
- 4 narrative legitimizing Russian invasion against Ukraine – Russia is not wrong in starting this war. Russia is “defending itself”, “protecting the rights of Russian people in Ukraine”, and “fighting against neo-Nazi”. One narratives argue that the US “has done similar things before”.
- 3 narratives criticizing the Taiwnese government’s alliance with the US in that the US “will eventually abandon Taiwan”. Narratives include “Today Ukraine, Tomorrow Taiwan” (今日烏克蘭, 明日台灣) and “Do not be an American pawn” (不要當美國棋子), which is a continuation of US-skeptical narratives reported by IORG during the US Afghan withdrawal. There are also inappropriate comparisons between Taiwan and Ukraine in that Taiwan will be worse off because Ukraine has 180 formal allies.
- 🇨🇳 The CCP outlets have avoided clear positions regarding Russia’s invasion against Ukraine. Instead, the CCP criticizes the Taiwanese government for “plotting for independence” (謀獨) and for being an “American pawn” (美國棋子). CCP outlets also echo the Russian position condemning NATO and US provocation.
- Many of us in Taiwan are concerned and worried about our safety as Russia invades Ukraine. At the same time, we could be more susceptible to information manipulation under emotional situations, and ignore important elements of information literacy, such as evidence, and reasonableness. Based on IORG’s own research, US-skeptical narratives appear during major events concerning US-Taiwan relations. Often amplified by the CCP, these narratives could divide our society, and negatively affect Taiwan’s relations with our important allies. Stay alert.
Objection, clarification, fact-checking
1. China’s Foreign Ministry avoids clear positions regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war. The Taiwan Affairs Office criticizes Taiwan for “relying on foreign power to plot for independence.”
2. Russia-Ukraine relations are like former husband and wife
3. Russian-Ukrainian war broke out due to NATO and Ukrainian provocation
4. The UN voted to fight against Nazi and only the US and Ukraine voted against it.
5. The US helped train neo-Nazi “Azov Battalion” in Ukraine, presucuted people in Eastern Ukraine, pushed for Hongkong independence with violence
6. RAND Corporation: Biden Administration should not press Russia and China too much, to avoid triggering a world war
7. Russia recognizing the independence of two eastern Ukraine regions is like the US recognizing the independence of Kosovo; Russia invading Ukraine is like the US annexing Texas
8. Ukraine is “de-russianizing”, neglecting the rights of its Russian population, therefore it is legitimate for Russia to invade Ukraine
9. Ukraine is the main accomplice of military threat to Taiwan’s national security
10. No one came to Ukraine’s rescue despite its 180 diplomatic allies. No one will save Taiwan
11. Today Ukraine, Tomorrow Taiwan
12. The US uses Ukraine as its pawn and causes the Russian-Ukrainian war, therefore Taiwan should not be an American pawn
Full version of this Dokidoki Alert is available in Taiwanese Mandarin. Please visit https://iorg.tw/da/21 for more.