TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense admitted Wednesday (June 14) that some of the images in a handbook it released on Tuesday to help Taiwanese identify People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were incorrect.
The defense ministry released a statement that said some of the published uniform designs do not reflect the true designs. The statement said that because of issues around gaining the authorization needed to use actual photos of PLA soldiers, they had opted to design “cute versions” of the uniforms instead.
“The Ministry of National Defense humbly accepts corrections and will make rolling revisions as needed to make the manual more comprehensive,” the statement said. It added it would seek advice from experts and engage in discussions about what further revisions need to be made.
Intellectual property lawyer Julia Yu (余淑杏) of First Law & IP Offices told Taiwan News that it is possible that reproducing images of another country’s military uniforms without permission could raise copyright issues. However, she said she does not think that it is likely China would try to mount a legal complaint over this issue.
You can't make this up.— Paul Huang (@PaulHuangReport) June 14, 2023
TW @MoNDefense issued a "civil defense" handbook with "enemy identification" guide.
3 of 4 camo patterns shown are the old Type 07 camo all phased-out by Type 21 in 2022. Only got winter/desert one correct, which is highly unlikely to show up in Taiwan. pic.twitter.com/swW5EdbyEP
Yu said the defense ministry's decision not to directly reproduce PLA-owned images of soldiers’ uniforms was likely considered in terms of cross-strait relations. “Take it as a political resolution, not from a legal aspect,” Yu said.
The inconsistencies were pointed out by the Facebook page IDF Ching-kuo (IDF經國號), which posted official PLA uniform pictures alongside the images published by the ministry. The post pointed out that the ministry’s publication included some combat uniform designs that had already been phased out, and noted significant errors in the depiction of the frogman uniform.
The post said that despite the patterns on some of the uniforms being wrong, the insignia and patches depicted were largely correct.
The handbook in which the imagery was published also contains the location of air raid shelters, combat first aid, and other practical information for civil defense emergencies.
The full defense ministry civil defense handbook. (CNA display)