TAIWAN: Military conscription to end by 2018



In December 2016, the Defense Minister of Taiwan, Feng Shih-kuan, announced that 2017 will be the last year young men will be required to serve in the military and that by 2018 military conscription will be abolished in the country.

Replying to a question from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei, the Defense Minister also said that he hopes that young people will join the military “voluntarily” with the “accelerating threat from China”. He has also stressed that their decision to end conscription is clear and it will not change.

However, the Ministry of Defense spokesman Chen Chung-chi was not as certain as the minister himself in his statement about the issue. He said "if the recruitment of an all-volunteer force reaches its goal, it will not be necessary to draft men born in 1993 and before into military service in 2018."

As reported by Focus Taiwan, this is not the first time the abolishment of compulsory military service has been in the agenda of the Taiwanese Government. In January 2016, as part of a shift to an all-volunteer force, the Ministry of Defense decided to stop the compulsory draft. The decision, however, has since been changed several times due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers.

Source: Focus Taiwan, Military conscription to stop completely from 2018: defense minister, 12th December 2016.

Photo: Tai Gray (via Flickr)


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Submitted by GORDON M. SITES (not verified) on Fri, 05 Jan 2018 - 14:23


Contrary to what your article says, compulsory military service will not be ending in 2018, as young Taiwanese will still be liable to four months' military training. The phrase all-volunteer army which the Taiwanese Defense Minister is now using is therefore Orwellian in nature. Your staff should be more careful in doing research on matters like this.

Submitted by GORDON M. SITES (not verified) on Thu, 11 Jan 2018 - 08:46


Taiwan has NOT abolished conscription, contrary to what your article says. Young men are unfortunately still liable to four months of compulsory military service. I would also like to know what persons refusing to perform this four-month stint face in terms of sanctions and penalties. Are they unconditionally exempted for the asking (as they should be) or do they have to perform so-called alternative service (if so, for how long?) or do they face imprisonment? Please try to provide us with more information and more details.

Hi Gordon, in the article we were not saying that Taiwan has abolished conscription, we were reporting on the fact that the Defense Minister announced in December 2016 that it would be abolished. Looking back at our news stories from the last decade, there has been a constant thread of plans and then u-turns! https://www.wri-irg.org/en/taxonomy/term/127

There is an alternative service. We don't have contact with any politically-motivated conscientious objectors in Taiwan, but there are quite a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses there, who do perform an alternative service, which they describe as successful: https://www.jw.org/en/news/legal/by-region/taiwan/successful-alternative-service-conscientious-objectors/