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Taiwan’s Civil Defense Preparedness: T.H. Schee on How to Prepare for the Threat of an Attack Ep 178

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

This episode is about Taiwan’s Civil Defense Preparedness, and how to prepare for the threat of an attack.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put the reality of war on display for the world, especially for Taiwan, which like Ukraine, has been under the constant threat of military aggression of an unfriendly neighbor. Because of the war that’s been happening in Ukraine there’s been talk of how Taiwan must improve its military defense capabilities and preparedness, but beyond this, there are people in Taiwan wondering what they themselves can do to be prepared, should Taiwan come under attack.

My guest on this episode of Talking Taiwan, T.H. Schee, a representative of Open Knowledge Taiwan, is one of those people asking these important questions.

We’d like to dedicate this episode to the memories of David Kilgour, who passed away on April fifth at the age of 81 and Peng Ming-min who passed away on April eighth at the age of 98. Mr. Kilgour, who I interviewed recently, was a human rights activist, and a former Member of Canada’s Parliament, having served in the House of Commons for nearly 27 years, as Secretary of State for Latin America & Africa from 1997-2002, and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific from 2002-2003.

Dr. Peng Ming-Min was a pro-Taiwan independence/pro-democracy activist. In 1964 he was arrested for sedition for drafting and printing a manifesto advocating for democracy in Taiwan, he served as president of the Formosan Association of Public Affairs from 1986 to 1988, and in 1996 he ran as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate in Taiwan’s first direct presidential election.


This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by the Taiwanese United Fund.


The Taiwanese United Fund is an arts and culture foundation that celebrates the cultural heritages of Taiwanese Americans. Established in 1986, the foundation’s mission is to facilitate cultural exchange between the Taiwanese American community and other American cultural communities, hoping to enrich and expand our cultural experiences. To learn more about TUF visit their website 


Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:


  • How T.H. became interested and involved with civil defense
  • The 9/21 earthquake in Nantou
  • His work with Open Knowledge Taiwan
  • What is civil defense
  • Great Britain’s Air Raid Wardens Service
  • How T.H. has been dealing with disaster response for over ten years
  • How Taiwan has to deal with disaster response year round due to typhoons and earthquakes
  • What is digital first aid
  • Taiwan’s history of civil defense programs in Kinmen and Matsu
  • What is covered in Open Knowledge workshops
  • The last time that preparedness for war was treated as a priority in Taiwan
  • The 1995-1996 missile crisis in Taiwan aka the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis
  • What Taiwan can learn from what’s happening with the war in Ukraine
  • The challenge of evacuating from Taiwan since it is an island
  • How prepared Ukrainian civilians were for war
  • How people can prepare for different levels of crisis: 1) emergency preparation (e.g. power outage/ blackout) 2) natural disaster 3) an attack/invasion/war
  • The importance of establishing several reliable sources of information in case of a natural disaster
  • The emerging discussion about how to handle an attack on Taiwan
  • The importance of being able to identify friend from foe in case of a war in Taiwan
  • The importance of first aid knowledge
  • How civil defense in Taiwan is mandated by the national police agency/law enforcement in Taiwan
  • An explanation of infographics from Open Knowledge that were recently shared on Twitter
  • How general citizens could seek to improve their preparedness by enrolling in courses offered by hospitals
  • Preparedness for military reservists
  • The importance of having secure lines of communication in times of crisis
  • Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense has published a handbook that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the local and central government in times of crisis; the handbook is irrelevant for civilians
  • T.H.’s thoughts on how the government of Taiwan can better prepare its citizens for war
  • How the past civil defense programs in Kinmen and Matsu prepared and trained civilians for war and what we can learn from them
  • How the defense sector is a closed circle and Open Knowledge Taiwan is trying to address civilians’ lack of access to defense related information
  • Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces
  • How it’s important for Taiwan to improve bi-lateral and tri-lateral exchanges of information
  • Michael Turton’s piece in the Taipei Times about Taiwan’s preparedness for war
  • How it’s important to be able to resist the first 72 hours of an attack
  • How critical points identified at Open Knowledge Taiwan workshops could be turned into policy recommendations for Taiwan’s government


Related Links:


T.H. Schee’s Website:


T.H. Schee on Twitter:


Click on ANY of the images below to read details in EXPANDED View: 



Open Knowledge Taiwan:


Open Knowledge Taiwan on Twitter:


Watching Ukraine, Taiwan worries about its own fate (an article from the L.A. Times):


Michael Turton’s piece in the Taipei Times about Taiwan’s preparedness for war, Notes from Central Taiwan: Talk Taiwan, as if your life depended on it:


1999 earthquake in Nantou, Taiwan (aka 921 earthquake):


Great Britain’s Air Raid Wardens Service:


Kinmen, Taiwan:


Matsu, Taiwan:


Taiwan’s martial law era:


The 1995-1996 missile crisis in Taiwan aka the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis:


Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy:


Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Twitter:




FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency):


The PLA (The People’s Republic of China’s People’s Liberation Army):


Conscription in Sweden:


Conscription in South Korea:


Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces:


Ukraine prepare for war (an article from The Atlantic):


Civil defense drills in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (March 31, 2022 from Taiwan SETNEWS channel):


Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (Released:

March 22, 2022):


Will China Attack Taiwan? Kuan-Ting Chen Discusses Ramifications of the War in Ukraine on Taiwan (Episode 175):


David Kilgour Author and Human Rights Advocate: Why 2022 is the China Genocide Olympics (Episode 170):


Biking in Taiwan with Blogger Michael Turton (Episode 138):


Taipei Times Columnist Michael Turton Talks About the Taiwan Pineapple Ban by China (Episode 119):

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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