Defense chief nods at plan to recruit 'lost army' descendants
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China Post
December 19, 2013, 12:10 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang lawmaker Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) yesterday suggested that the government naturalize the descendants of the nation's “lost army” in Myanmar and recruit them as soldiers to fill the ranks of the nation's armed forces, to which Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) responded by saying that the legislator's idea is “feasible.”
In the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War, two regiments of the R.O.C. Army's 93rd Division, which hadn't retreated to Taiwan, refused to surrender to the People's Liberation Army and fought their way out of southwestern China, eventually settling in Myanmar and Thailand. The soldiers of the two regiments were later known collectively as the “lost army” or “forgotten army.”
Yen yesterday gave a report at the Legislative Yuan on the progress of the government's plan to establish an all-volunteer military, which has so far been put on hold due to lackluster recruitment.
Lu said that there are a substantial amount of these descendants in Myanmar, and that despite their statelessness, they are hardy and faithful to the Republic of China.
Lu asked the minister whether or not it is possible to amend the Nationality Act so that the descendants can be naturalized in order to attract them to join the armed forces.
Yen responded by saying that the idea is feasible, and that the Ministry of National Defense has helped some of them apply for R.O.C. citizenship.
Although armed forces personnel work longer hours, they tend to earn less than others, Lu said, rhetorically asking who would want to join the military under the present circumstances.
Lu said that a former lawmaker connected with the military had once suggested naturalizing the descendants of the “lost army,” and that she proposes to make that suggestion again on the condition that they receive higher wages.