Taiwan has issued for the first time a “survival handbook” to guide its citizens in the preparation for a possible Chinese invasion in the future.
The 28-page National Defense Handbook is where the general public can find “an emergency response guideline in a military crisis or natural disaster,” said the defense ministry, which is responsible for compiling and releasing the material.
The raging war in Ukraine has heightened concerns that China would seize the opportunity when the world’s focus is on Europe to wage an attack against the island.
“I was surprised to hear about the survival handbook,” said 35-year-old Cathy Hsieh, a bank clerk.
“I’ve never thought we’d need something like that but it’s good that they [the government] have made such precaution,” she said.
The handbook is drawn from similar publications issued in Japan and Sweden, and contains illustrated guidelines on how to find shelters in the case of bombing and what to do in emergencies such as fires, air raids or natural disasters.
It even teaches people how to differentiate warning sirens.
One guideline tells citizens to not open the fridge door too often during a power outage to keep the contents cold.
The handbook provides a set of QR codes for citizens to scan using their mobile phones to access needed information as well as a list of emergency numbers.
Yet some Taiwanese say the handbook, albeit a nice initiative, is impractical.
“When all the hell breaks loose, I don’t think people would want to rely on QR codes and mobile networks which for sure won’t be working,” said George Cai, a 28-year-old resident of Taipei.
He said there should be rehearsals on how to use the handbook.
Lien Hsiang joint exercise
On Tuesday, the Taiwanese military also held a large-scale exercise “to rehearse the rapid response to a simulated attack by Chinese warplanes.”
F-16 fighters, Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDFs), Apache helicopters, and other aircraft were dispatched as part of an effort to “strengthen the protection of important assets and counter airstrikes.”
“The exercise is an important part of training to counter an attack by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF),” said Col. Sun Li-fang, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense spokesman, at a press conference.
A Chinese military expert was quoted by Chinese media as saying that both the drills and the handbook are “futile in resisting reunification.”
Taiwanese people consider themselves citizens of an independent, democratic country but China claims the island is a breakaway province of China and vows to reunite it with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The Lien Hsiang joint exercise has been held annually since 2016 and involves the air force, army and the navy.
The air force however took the center stage as Taiwan is seeing almost daily incursions by Chinese aircraft into its air identification zone (ADIZ).
Since the beginning of April, 25 Chinese military aircraft including 16 fighter jets, six spotter planes, and three helicopters have been tracked in Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of Defense.
An ADIZ is not a country’s sovereign airspace, but the extended area around it, and is closely monitored in case of illegal encroachment.