Archive for December 27th, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Taipei: Say it through Opinion Polls

76.5 per cent of Taiwanese respondents to a poll said that they would voluntarily fight for their country if it came under attack, Taiwan’s deputy defense minister, Chao Shih-chang (趙世璋) confirmed in parliament (立法院) on Monday morning. According to Focus Taiwan,

In light of the fact that the military is preparing to switch to a fully volunteer recruitment system, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said, the poll was conducted to determine the level of volunteerism that could be expected in the event of a war, the paper reported.
The results were not publicized because they were meant to be used only as reference by the military’s personnel recruitment units, the MND said.

The stated preparedness for defending Taiwan was at 74.5 per cent in a similar survey in 2009, the deputy defense minister said, attributing the higher percentage this year to what he called successful national defense education.

According to the BBC‘s Lin Nansen (林楠森), the China Times (中国时报) quoted an unnamed official with the defense ministry as the source who referred to the poll as reference material for the fully-voluntary recruiting system. The poll had been conducted among Taiwanese citizens who weren’t currently serving, according to the source.

Now News adds some analysis by amused netizens who have their doubts – after all, who would, in a poll, flatly reply that he doesn’t want t0 defend his country? If the poll results would translate into real preparedness to fight when needed would be a different story:

To talk is one thing – to fight without your knees shaking and without surrendering is another (講是這樣講,真打起來還不是雙膝一軟就投降了).

For whatever reason, by way of a ministerial confirmation, these statistics were publicized after all, even if only in a summary way. It’s certainly nicer to transmit this kind of information through leaked polls, than in direct talks with negotiation partners from China.

The public appearance of some of the poll may also target the domestic electorate. By attributing the apparent increase in the public’s preparedness to defend Taiwan to successful national defense education, the KMT may want to point out that preparedness to defend ones country didn’t need to be connected with advocating internationally recognized independence.

The exact wordings of the 2010 and 2009 polls are apparently not publicly avaliable.


Compulsory Miltary Service, GIO, April 23, 2010
Sovereignty is no mere Legal Issue, November 7, 2009

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