Ukraine war leads Taiwanese to take China's aggression more seriously

How have residents responded to that heightened sense of threat?

A growing number are taking matters into their own hands. Taiwan has a strong civil society, and more and more nongovernmental organizations are holding what are called civil defense workshops. I went to one in Taipei recently in a sleek co-working space. This organization, Kuma Academy, gives classes focused on subjects like first aid and Chinese disinformation. About 40 people of different backgrounds and ages gave up their weekends to listen to lectures on topics like combating misinformation and to learn practical skills like how to use a bandage to stop bleeding. Everyone was listening intently and taking notes on their laptops.

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How popular are these kinds of preparation activities?

Demand has really gone up. The founder of another civil defense organization, Forward Alliance, told me that it has been doing 15 to 20 classes a month since Russia invaded Ukraine. Classes fill up within two hours of going online. He said his group has trained 1,000 civilians and emergency medical workers. People are taking their kids to learn first aid.

It’s gone beyond first aid, too. Taiwan has really strict gun laws, but interest in classes teaching people how to shoot has also tripled since the war began.

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