Young Taiwanese Man, Speaking English, Adamantly Refuses To Return To Compulsory Military Service

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.”

    10 Responses to “Young Taiwanese Man, Speaking English, Adamantly Refuses To Return To Compulsory Military Service”

    1. SeaHorse

      Taiwan still got some reminiscence of military rule in place. They only stopped doing the goosestep recently.

    2. Sun Yat-sen

      To serve in the ROC army, protecting the free world against the communist threat, is a privilige.

      Let’s hope this milk jelly gets used for live shooting practice.

    3. Adrian Kim

      I understand the hardships of military service. I myself served in the army for 24 months. As much as I personally detested it, I believed and still believe it is necessary, as somebody has to defend the country from foreign aggression(especially so when your neighbor is armed with nuclear weapons and regularly threatens to turn your capital into a sea of flames). Taiwan’s relationship with China is much better than how it used to be when Chiang and Mao were around, but China still hasn’t ruled out using force against Taiwan should the latter declare independence. Taiwan is still threatened and needs a credible defense force. From that aspect, the military service in Taiwan should be preserved. I feel sorry for the young man who can’t fit in the army though.

    4. David Lin

      Nah, I totally understand where he’s coming from. As I’m currently serving my country.

      It’s completely not what I’ve expected. I thought I would learn to how be an actual soldier. But the work that me and other conscripts and even volunteers are doing just are fucking errands, cleaning and other worthless shits… Nothing about proctecting the country itself but to please those top dogs in the military.

      I understand what you get depends how lucky are when you’re drafting. At first I picked paratroopers. But I got rejected last minute due to the fact I lived in Vietnam (a communist country)for 10 years. I wanted to learn and experience an actual military training and lifestyle.

      When they want us to train and exercise is when inspectors are coming, hence whatever “soldier” work we are doing are just a fucking show for those dogs. Conscripts literally treated like shit depends where you drafted to. Shit fucking pay as 6k NTD per month. Punishment is easily comes with cutting off your holiday. What I and others have to endure is mental stress instead of physical.

      If any of you can read and understand Mandarin. You should really check what compulsory service is like in Taiwan… Sacrifised a lot of things just to fucking get rid of this issue when I was in Australia attending my university. I lost my University, relationship, time, job and etc.


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