Eye on Ukraine, Taiwanese Make a Move

Citizens who've never handled firearms are increasingly taking lessons in handling airsoft guns
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2022 7:27 AM CDT
Worried Over China, Taiwanese Learn to Shoot
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/robertprzybysz)

(Newser) – China has scoffed at comparisons of itself and Taiwan to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But that hasn't eased the fears of Taiwanese residents, who are now taking a step many never expected: getting firearms training. Although gun ownership is strongly regulated in Taiwan, people who've never picked up a weapon in their lives are flocking instead to sites that train in how to shoot less-dangerous airsoft guns, devices that fire off nonmetallic projectiles. "More and more people are coming to take part," Max Chiang, the CEO of Polar Light, a combat skills training firm in Taipei, tells Reuters. He adds that signups for lessons in how to shoot airsofts have almost quadrupled since the war in Ukraine started in February. The news agency notes that "many of the movements and tactics involved" in shooting airsoft guns "resemble combat skills, from shooting posture to aiming."

Polls have increasingly showed that the people of Taiwan are willing to defend themselves against a Chinese invasion if need be, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some, including retired Adm. Lee Hsi-ming, the former chief of the general staff of Taiwan's armed forces, are even suggesting that civilians receive combat training and set up a DIY defense force, much like one that Ukraine employs (others say, however, that such a volunteer force isn't currently feasible). Taiwan does currently have mandatory military service—four months for young men, plus occasional reservist training—but those who've been through it say they receive minimal firearms training. "I need to come to these kinds of lessons to actually learn something," a 26-year-old personal trainer who's gone through his conscription says of the airsoft gun training he's now undergoing.

In short, many in Taiwan simply want to be prepared in case China one day tries to use force to sweep Taiwan more fully back into its fold. "I wanted to learn some combat skills," including skills "to be able to react to any kind of situation," one Taiwanese man, a tattoo artist, tells Reuters. "I ... don't want to go to war, but in the unfortunate event of this really happening, I will be mentally prepared." The Taiwanese public is prepping for the worst in other ways as well, stocking up on food, batteries, and other emergency supplies, purchasing pepper spray, and rigging their homes with alarm systems. "Think about how you can help yourself and others survive," one councilman candidate says. (President Biden has said the US is on the ready to defend Taiwan.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X