Fri, May 06, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Pool star may still be drafted: military officials

ALLEGIANCE:Wu Chia-ching, who has acquired Chinese citizenship, could become the first PRC national to serve in Taiwan’s armed forces

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Former Taiwanese pool star Wu Chia-ching (吳珈慶) may still be conscripted even if he has become a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), military officials said yesterday.

Under the Nationality Act (國籍法), the 22-year-old Wu will still have to complete his military service despite becoming a PRC national, officials told a legislative session.

SINGAPORE?

The officials were responding to lawmakers’ questions about Wu, who acquired Chinese citizenship last month after prior speculation that he was seeking Singaporean citizenship.

“Wu could lose his constitutionally protected rights and privileges, but there is no way that he will be relieved of his conscription duties,” said Chao Ke-ta (趙克達), head of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) human resources department.

There is speculation that if Wu returns to Taiwan, he could be the first PRC national to ever serve in Taiwan’s armed forces.

Ministry officials said Wu would be afforded “special treatment.”

“There will be a special post planned [for Wu] and counseling,” Chao said to questions of what would happen if Wu were to also join the Chinese Communist Party.

He did not elaborate.

LOYALTY

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said there would naturally be questions about Wu’s loyalty if he joins Taiwan’s armed forces.

“Wu has apparently already sworn his loyalty to China — which is still our [recognized] enemy,” Tsai said, and suggested that the military should standardize procedures for dealing with such cases.

Under Taiwan’s conscription laws, draft-age males, with some exceptions, are required to serve 12 months, although the government plans to create an all-volunteer force by 2015.

The Nationality Act states that males aged over 15 who have not completed the service cannot renounce their Republic of China citizenship.

FUGITIVE

Wu is expected back in the country by July 14 and could become a fugitive if he fails to adhere to a six-month deadline for reporting for duty, the Ministry of the Interior said last week.

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