Conscription in the Republic of China
The Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

has maintained a policy of conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

for all qualified males of military age since 1949. Females from the outlying islands of Fuchien, which are geographically closest to mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, were also required to serve in a civil defense role, although this requirement has been dropped since the lifting of martial law. Although the majority of all enlisted positions in the ROC Armed Forces
Military of the Republic of China
The Republic of China Armed Forces encompass the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Military Police Force of the Republic of China . It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003...

 have been and are currently filled by draftees, the government intends to gradually expand the number of volunteer soldiers with the eventual goal of forming an all volunteer military. However, even then there will be compulsory basic training for all males reaching 18. Recent years have also seen an increase in the service options open to draftees, including alternative service with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), as well as specialized service options for draftees in specific professions. The draft process is set forth under the ROC Military Service Act under the auspices of the MOI's National Conscription Agency as well as by Article 20 of the ROC Constitution.

The ROC Defense Ministry had announced that should voluntary enlistment reach sufficient numbers, the compulsory service period for draftees will be shortened to 14 months in 2007. It will be further shortened to 12 months in 2009.

On March 10, 2009 Minister of Defence Chen Chao-min said by the end of 2014 Taiwan will have an all volunteer military force. The process of removing conscription will begin in 2010 and by the end of 2014 an all volunteer force will replace the conscipts. Individuals who wish to join must have a minimum of high school education and those who do not volunteer for the military will be forced to complete four months of military boot camp.

Should this policy remain unchanged, although the ROC will have a purely volunteer professional force, every male will still be conscripted to receive a three to four month military training. Thus, after 2014, compulsory military service will still remain in practice in the ROC.


18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2009). Both men and women have been drafted.
Under the current Military Service Act, all ROC citizens between the ages of 19 and 36 are considered to be of "draft age" and are subject to conscription, including those possessing dual citizenship (though the ROC does recognise dual citizenship). Generally, dual citizens who are males of military age are not permitted to renounce their ROC citizenship prior to completing their service obligations. Draftable males classified as Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 are exempt from the draft provided they do not reside continuously in the Taiwan Area
Free Area of the Republic of China
The Free area of the Republic of China is a legal and political description referring to the territories under the control of the government of Republic of China , consisting of the island groups of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands...

 for a) more than four months at a time for those born in 1984 and before or b) more than 183 days in a two year period.

All draft age males will receive notices requiring them to report to the conscription sections of their local government offices at age 19 for preliminary assessment. Deferments are available for students of higher education institutions up to certain cutoff ages (24 for a bachelors degree, 27 for a masters degree, and 30 for a doctoral degree), as well as for draftees with one sibling already serving. Following completion of the active duty service period, all draftees are demobilized with all emigration restrictions lifted and are considered reservists until age 36.

Draft age males are subject to restrictions on leaving the country prior to fulfilling their service obligations and require approval from either their local district offices (for short term visits abroad), or the MOI Immigration Bureau for students attending institutions of higher education abroad.

Draft dodger
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

s are subject to criminal charges.

Service options

The following compulsory service options are available as of January 2006:
  • Enlisted military service (士兵役): 12 months of active duty enlisted military service in one of the four branches of the ROC Armed Forces
    Military of the Republic of China
    The Republic of China Armed Forces encompass the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Military Police Force of the Republic of China . It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003...

  • Alternative service (替代役): 12 months of public safety or community service related work under the MOI, usually in the police
    National Police Agency (Republic of China)
    The National Police Agency is an agency under the Ministry of the Interior, Republic of China , which oversees all ROC police forces on a national level...

    , fire department, public clinics, local government offices, or as teachers in rural areas. Various billets are available only to draftees with related qualifications.
  • National defense service (國防役): Available to draftees with advanced degrees, particularly in the sciences and engineering, who upon selection, receive 3 months of officer training culminating in a commission as an officer in the reserves, followed by four years of employment in a government or academic research institution such as the Academia Sinica
    Academia Sinica
    The Academia Sinica , headquartered in the Nangang District of Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan. It supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences.Academia Sinica has...

     or Industrial Technology Research Institute
    Industrial Technology Research Institute
    The Industrial Technology Research Institute is a non-profit research institute located in Taiwan under the supervision of the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs. It conducts research and development in applied technologies to advance private sector growth...


Draft process

The military draft process occurs in four steps:
  1. Military Registration Investigation: Interview conducted by the conscription sections of local government offices to determine the educational background of the draftee as well as any special skills (e.g. proficiency in a foreign language). Generally occurs upon a male ROC national's 19th birthday or periodically upon his establishment (or change) of residence in ROC administered territories while of draft age but not yet drafted. Education and other deferments may be granted at this point if the draftee is eligible. If the draftee is not eligible for a deferment, a physical examination is scheduled. The draftee may also apply for alternative or national defense service at this point. In the case of the latter, the draftee will be required to compete successfully at an officer selection board for the desired billet, after which he will continue directly on to officer training school following completion of the physical exam.
  2. Physical Examination: Draftee undergoes a full physical examination at a hospital approved by the Department of Health. Physical fitness is classified on three levels, A, B, and C, with level A and B draftees considered physically fit for military service.
  3. Drawing Lots: Draftees fit for military service then draw lots to determine if they will serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps (Military police officers are selected from Army draftees). The chances of drawing for each service are not equal with the Army generally being the most probable, the Navy intermediate, and the Air Force and Marines being the least probable.
  4. Basic Training: After being assigned a service branch, the draftee is then assigned a date to begin basic training, after which the draftee will enter active duty.

External links

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