There’s not much info about this video, posted on YouTube by ThePiXNet yesterday and flagged by Reddit, but the description claims the young man is a study abroad student who doesn’t want to return to Taiwan to finish his compulsory military service. Can you blame him? Conscription has been called “prison for the innocent,” and since we’re talking about China here, let’s go ahead and make the comparison with Mao’s Down to the Countryside Movement. Discuss.
The young man, collapsed at the top of an escalator, says in perfect English:
“I’m not going back to the base. I am not going back.”
His father screams at him in broken English, saying he’s going to jail.
“I’d rather go to jail! They’re going to kill me there! There’s going to kill me there!”
The father explains to someone nearby, in Chinese, that the young man doesn’t know how to speak Chinese and that he’s scared.
“No one helped me,” the young man continues. “I went to the military police, they wouldn’t do anything. They won’t do anything at all! Help me, I’m an American!”
The American Institute in Taiwan website states (emphasis theirs): “Men between the ages of 18 and 36 who were born in Taiwan or who have ever held a Taiwan passport should be aware that they may be subject to compulsory military service in Taiwan, even if they are also U.S. citizens, and even if they have entered Taiwan on U.S. passports… The United States Government cannot protect dual nationals from compulsory military service.”
It seems like the boy’s father is unwilling to protect him, either.
There is one way to get out of compulsory military service, though: immigrate to mainland China.
From Wikipedia, for those interested in further reading: “Draftees may also request alternative service, usually in community service areas, although the required service period would be longer than military service. Qualified draftees with graduate degrees in the sciences or engineering who pass officer candidate exams may also apply to fulfil their obligations in a national defense service option which involves three months of military training, followed by an officer commission in the reserves and four years working in technical jobs in the defense industry or government research institutions.”