Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Conscription rules should be relaxed,businessman says

TAIPEI , CNA

A Taiwanese man currently working in China has appealed to the government to relax the regulations governing conscription.

The man, surnamed Liu, made the appeal yesterday because more and more Taiwan students are studying overseas, a lot of whom end up being wanted or punished for failing to perform compulsory military service.

Speaking through Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩), Liu said he was sent to China by his company about nine years ago along with his family. Now, his son is entering a university in China, but faces military service in Taiwan. He expressed hope that the government will relax the regulations so that his son do his military service after graduating without being penalized.

Wang said that according to Ministry of the Interior statistics, last year alone, there were 242 cases of conscripts being wanted by the authorities, either because they failed to get their overseas study plan approved by the government or they had been approved but chose not to return at the pre-agreed time.

Upon their return to Taiwan, they not only have to enter compulsory military service, they also have to serve a jail sentence and end up with a criminal record, Wang added.

Tu Ying-hui (杜英輝), a conscript commissioner in the Taipei City Government, said that there seems to be no leeway for Liu's case.

Liu said that according to current regulations, men who want to study overseas without government approval must leave the country before they reach 16, and gain a certificate of college entrance by the age of 19.

For those who want to study in China, the restrictions are more stringent. They must be children of Taiwanese businesspeople or workers for companies approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. For those aged between 17 and 19, the students and their parents cannot stay in Taiwan for more than two months each year.

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