To would-be ROC citizens:


#1

Since my question didn’t garner any replies in the legal forum, I’ll pose it again here:

For all of those male foreigners who desire ROC citizenship, if you were allowed a way to become citizens without renouncing your original citizenship (which AIT does not do, btw), would you still be willing to serve a mandatory ±2 years in the military if you’re under 45 (might be 40 or even lower, I’m not sure), just like every other male ROC citizen? If not, then why not?

Would be correct to assume that the majority of foreigners wishing to become ROC citizens are male?


#2

Basically, yes and no. I don’t believe in compulsory military service and wouldn’t even do it if it was required in my own country and there was some way around it. I might do it if there was some meaningful civil service option. I don’t want to be part of an army and I don’t believe in the compulsory side of it.

Practically I’d probably get off on medical grounds, or I’d wait until I was 40 or whatever the age is.

On the other hand I do believe that foreigners wanting citizenship have the same duties as other citizens, but they should also be able to protest those duties if they think they are unjust or try and get out of them the same way ‘born-citizens’ do.

Bri


#3

Oh yeah, isn’t it true that overseas Chinese obtaining citizenship don’t have to perform military service? If that is the case it would seem unfair that non-Chinese foreigners would have to.

Bri


#4

No, it’s not true. All overseas Chinese MEN that take the ROC citizenship have to do compulsory military service if they stay in Taiwan for a certain number of months (I forget how many)consecutively. This is actually one way that Taiwanese nationals without a foreign passport avoid doing the military service. If they manage to stay abroad, only coming back to Taiwan for short stints from the time they are 18+, they can avoid the military. Obviously, all women are exempt from military service.


#5

That’s a good point, but I don’t know about overseas Chinese from Western countries. I do know that, at least pre-1997, guys from places like Hong Kong and Singapore who had obtained ROC IDs had to leave the country every so often or risk being drafted. I knew of one guy in college who was like one day late and was hauled away for two years of service.

It would seem rather unfair to only make overseas Chinese from certain countries do it and not others.


#6

So it seems that if you’re overseas Chinese with Taiwanese citizenship you’ve just got to make sure you leave Taiwan every 4 months to avoid military service. So those flights to HK are not just packed with illegal English teachers. How many ABCs have been flying to HK every 4 months for years?

Bri


#7

I recently visited a TECO office in San Francisco, to ask about obtaining my Taiwan citizenship. The response was long. The lady at the office took out a sheet of paper with a flow chart on it and went through my travel dates to Taiwan. They concluded that since I came back to Taiwan with a US passport after the 1997 and over the age of 20, I would get immediately drafted if I got my Taiwanese passport. So for all of you who are considering it, I would spend the time to talk to someone in the “consulate” in your respective countries to find out your legal status. the rules have changed and you need to be aware of it from the official sources.

Mark


#8

Bu Lai En,

It is true that many overseas Taiwanese who come back to Taiwan leave every 3-6 months to Hong Kong to avoid military service. However, I am not sure for how many years they should do that. I think they can apply to opt out, but I am not sure.

jeff@oriented.org
http://taiwanstuff.tripod.com


#9

It seems to me that the vast majority of people avoiding military service do so out of selfish reasons, rather than objecting to the military on moral grounds. I wonder what kind of citizens these would-be Taiwanese would make. Surely they must realize that their nation faces a military threat much greater than most nations, and it is only the threat of reciprocated military action that keeps Taiwan safe. How then, in good conscience, can people who really want to be citizens accept the privileges of being Taiwanese without also accepting the duties? It’s not just the ABCs-turned-Taiwanese here, either, it’s also the children of privileged families, and a significant percentage of med students who have the know-how to sabotage their own physicals, just to avoid serving their country. Everybody hopes that America will jump to the rescue should China get too ambitious, but why should American mothers and fathers send their sons and daughters to die if the people they are fighting for aren’t willing to make the same sacrifice? It’s these moral cowards who will be the first citizens of this island in the case of war, I can assure you.


#10

that’s kinda harsh. the problem is that most people(taiwanese and abc alike) see the mandatory military service as pointless. they pack you away somewhere for 2 years where you sit around and listen to cd’s and download mp3s.

imagine if the us had a permanent draft. any country which has mandatory military service has these problems. i remember during the cold war when us tropps were stationed in west germany TONS of west german youths just talked their way out of military service. was it because they didn’t care if the warsaw pact invaded?

the us has a volunteer army. that’s great. people who don’t want to be in the army don’t have to be. taiwan doesn’t have that priviledge. does that somehow make people who don’t especially want to spend 2 years doing military service in taiwan less patriotic and more cowardly than americans who don’t want to spend 2 years in the military?

of course, if the us mainland were invaded, how many men of fighting age that aren’t currently in the military would enlist? probably quite a few. how many men in taiwan who got out of military service would willingly fight if taiwan were invaded?

moral cowards? what a pretentious comment.


#11
quote:
Originally posted by Flipper: the problem is that most people(taiwanese and abc alike) see the mandatory military service as pointless. they pack you away somewhere for 2 years where you sit around and listen to cd's and download mp3s.

imagine if the us had a permanent draft.
the us has a volunteer army. that’s great. people who don’t want to be in the army don’t have to be. taiwan doesn’t have that priviledge. does that somehow make people who don’t especially want to spend 2 years doing military service in taiwan less patriotic and more cowardly than americans who don’t want to spend 2 years in the military?

of course, if the us mainland were invaded, how many men of fighting age that aren’t currently in the military would enlist? probably quite a few.


That would be a cool post where you got to sit around and download MP3s for two years. However, while I recognize that there are such posts, they definitely don’t constitute the majority. Of course, I’ve been out of the army for several years and MP3s came afterwards, but I still doubt most soldiers sit around downloading stuff from the Internet. Just the lucky ones.

Still, it’s not about what you personally want to do or not, otherwise only a few people would want to sereve. Comparing Taiwan and the US here is like apples and oranges due to their vastly different situations and positions in the global community. Is the liklihood of China invading the US the same as the liklihood of China invading Taiwan? It’s a completely different game.

The question isn’t whether you think it’s pointless. The system obviously has flaws; but, in the view that it is the law that male ROC citizens live under, would you accept that responsibility in order to reap the priveleges of ROC citizenship? I ask this because, in all of the arguments people have raised to allow foreigners to become ROC citizens, no one has really touched upon this point. The privileges of ABC’s, while pertinent, are a bit of a seperate matter.


#12

yes, taiwan is under threat from china. yet at the same time, how many combat deaths(non-training) have occured in the taiwanese military in the last 50 years? how many us combat deaths?

from the reponses on this thread, the answer seems to be a resounding “no” to your question of whether foreigners are willing to serve in the military in exchange for citizenship.

my post was mostly a response to maoman who saw fit to label anyone who purposely avoided military service as a moral coward and a traitor to taiwan.


#13

Here’s a pertinent wee story. Ouch!

story on Taiwan NCOs

Wouldn’t anyone do his utmost to stay out of an organization like this?


#14

This story sounds like the result of one guy’s grievance with one post, as well as the common frustration of foreigners with the way Chinese do things. In my experience, Taiwanese NCO’s carry at least their fair share of responsibilities, and while the red tape might be maddening at the high-level posts upon which the author makes his claims, I don’t think this extends throughout the entire system. Also, the majority conscripts by definition aren’t going to become NCO’s.

Btw, in my previous post, I said “in order to reap the priveleges…” What I should have said, of course, was “along with the priveliges…” Obviously, citizenship would come before military service. It’s surprising how many people get this confused and think that one has to be in the army in order to gain citizenship, which is of course backwards.

I don’t know if enough people have responded to make the “No” very resounding. It’s just something foreigners wanting ROC citizenship without having to give up their original citizenship don’t seem to bring up, thus my curiosity.


#15
quote:
Originally posted by Flipper: My post was mostly a response to maoman who saw fit to label anyone who purposely avoided military service as a moral coward and a traitor to taiwan.
Actually, I only said the part about moral cowardice - the traitor to Taiwan business you made up. Avoidance of military duty would be a crime of omission, while treason would almost certainly have to be an crime of commission. That being said, I do believe that people should have the courage of their convictions. I guess now that Taiwan has conscientious objector laws in place, allowing people to do alternative service such as teaching, social work and other forms of community volunteer work, those ABCs and privileged rich kids will be lining up to do their national duty, right? After all, helping out underprivileged aboriginal kids could hardly be viewed as a waste of time, right? The fact is, the only Taiwanese that have willingly gone to jail in the last 10 years in order to avoid military service that they felt conflicted with their beliefs were Jehovah's Witnesses. Can't say I agree with their teachings, but anyone who is willing to go to jail for their beliefs has courage. Interesting that Buddhism, a pacifist religion, has no equivalent pacifist minority in Taiwan more willing to serve jail time than to participate in the military, but that's another topic.

Flipper, you seem to feel that we as citizens have the right to make unilateral decisons on how we want to participate in our society. If that were true, then we would all be paying less tax, if any at all. If you really want to effect change, then start lobbying legislators and writing letters to the editor. Or if you feel that you cannot fulfill your obligations to society, then be prepared to pay the price. Using Daddy’s influence or your other passport as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card is the act of a coward, simple as that.

Poagao, to answer your original question, 13 years ago, if I had been told that I could apply for Taiwanese citizenship without losing my Canadian citizenship, I would have jumped at the chance. I’m older now, so I would be a little more reluctant to do it. Still, I would never say never!


#16

yes, please lecture us some more about a sacrifice that you yourself never had to make. my cousin died in a training accident while doing his compulsory military service a couple years back. i think it was something about a malfunction in a submarine.

so get on your canadian high horse and spout off about rich spoiled boys who do not have the moral fortitude that you obviously possess. self-rightious venting from someone who had actually given their 2 years to “defending” taiwan i can take, but canadians who think they’re so much better than the taiwanese cowards they see around them…sad.

once again, stop being so haughty about something that YOU’VE never had to do.


#17

Flipper, I didn’t mean to sound like I was attacking anybody personally. I feel that serving in the military is not only a legal obligation in Taiwan, but also a matter of principle. If one chooses to serve or not to serve their nation, that is fine by me, but if they are not willing to take responsibility for their actions, then they are being devious.

You are right, though when you say that this is a sacrifice I have never had to make. That does not preclude the validity of my opinion. I am not a woman, but I believe in the right of a woman to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.

Coming from a religious and cultural tradition that has been solidly pacifist for the last 400 years, I have been made aware of the personal sacrifices my not-so-distant ancestors have made in the name of peace, often at cost to their lives. I myself am a bit of a black sheep in that I believe we have a right and a duty to protect those weaker than us, but I have full respect for those who choose to turn the other cheek. In my college days in the US, I was privileged to be friends with a couple of American guys who spent time in jail rather than even registering for the draft. While only registering does not mean one has to serve, they felt it would be a sign of their condoning the use of military force, which they did not.
Because I am Canadian, it is unlikely that my principles on this matter will ever be put to the test. That is no reason not to have principles, however.

For all the Taiwanese citizens who choose not to serve their nation either militarily out of a matter of principle, and are willing to take responsibility for their actions, they have my undying respect. Now, though, there is the option of serving the nation in other ways - so really there is no principled reason not to fulfill one’s duty - just excuses of inconvenience, and laziness.


#18

Maoman, Flipper, I think both sides of your argument have good points.

quote[quote] Flipper, you seem to feel that we as citizens have the right to make unilateral decisons on how we want to participate in our society [/quote] - Maoman

It’s a difficult moral point, but I believe in resisting laws that we believe are ‘bad laws’. I am not one of these people who believes in ‘the law’ to the point where they will abide by laws that conflict with thei moral convictions. So I break the law sometimes, but I pay taxes even though I don’t really want to.

Personally I think compulsory military service is a bad idea, and I have heard stories about Taiwan’s militry service being a big waste of time. Maybe some system where the training was really useful and there was a pacifist alternative community service (which could be slightly tougher than the military option) would be a system I’d advocate while Taiwan is still under threat (for men and women).

Also I think there is a big distinction between 20 year old boys finding a way out of their military service becasue they are young and want to do things with their lives and they see privileged people avoiding it all the time, and actually being willing to defend your country if it came under attack. If I was a citizen I wouldn’t want to do military service but I would be willing to defend Taiwan if China invaded. On the other hand I bet there are a lot of people for whom the opposite is true - they did service but would run if China attacked.

Anyway ‘defence of your country is pretty ambiguous’ what if a future Taiwanese government decided to unify with China and the army was called upon to fight independence rebels in the mountains? Who is defending their country in that case?

Bri


#19
quote:
Originally posted by Bu Lai En: If I was a citizen I wouldn't want to do military service but I would be willing to defend Taiwan if China invaded.

Don’t you think at least some training would make those defending Taiwan a lot more effective, though? I’ve heard many foreigners say that they would pick up a gun and fight for Taiwan, but even if they were serious, how many actually know how to use one? Not to mention taking orders and other aspects of a military campaign?

To be honest, I’m not sure if there would be too much left to defend once PLA forces made it onto Taiwan proper, but still, I think some training should be required in any case. I also think that reserve training should be improved and made more frequent(the fact that I wouldn’t mind more breaks from my job factors in here as well ).

Also, don’t you think that just the fact that Taiwan has such a large military force acts as a bit of deterrent to mainland Chinese invasion? Just by being in the military, you are defending Taiwan, just by being part of a military force that might make Beijing think twice about invading (not that that’s stopped them in the past in other situations).


#20

Good points, but from what I’ve heard a lot of the problem is that the training they give you is ineffective and easily forgotten.

As you said, most people seem to think that by the time the Chinese have landed and we get to pick up our guns to fight them, it’s probably too late. We need deterrent, and air and sea defence. On the other hand if the Taiwanese were really serious about defending their country wouldn’t a guerilla war be a good option. Lots of treacherous mountainous terrain and all that. So maybe they should train the populace for guerilla warfare?

Bri