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Canadian authors emergency guide to China attack for expats in Taiwan

When 'Final Deadline' is reached, only Non-combatant Evacuation Operations for US citizens may remain

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Evacuation of U.S. citizens from Dominica in aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. (U.S. Southern Command photo)

Evacuation of U.S. citizens from Dominica in aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. (U.S. Southern Command photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Canadian author has created a digital civil defense handbook for foreign residents in Taiwan that includes advice on contingency plans in the event of a Chinese invasion.

John Groot officially launched his defense e-book titled "Resilience Roadmap: An Emergency Preparedness Guide for Expats in Taiwan" on Sunday (Dec. 3) in New Taipei City's Xindian District. It provides an overview of how to create a group emergency plan for the following four types of disaster threats: typhoon, earthquake, fire, and war.

When asked by Taiwan News what his inspiration was for creating the manual, Groot said that after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, he became more concerned about a potential attack on Taiwan. He said his concerns were exacerbated by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) military exercises after former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.

"I decided I needed to think seriously about how I would try to prepare for something like that," said Groot. He decided to share his research and add other useful information about typhoons, earthquakes, and fires.

"Taiwan can be a dangerous place, some of the time anyway," he said.

He said he based his handbook on various "how-to" guides he has read over the years. The process of gathering information was long, he said, and he read through many articles and websites and "interviewed a lot of very knowledgeable people."

When asked his main recommendation for expats wanting to prepare for a Chinese invasion, Groot said that he prefers to use the term "military contingency," because there are ways the PLA could take action against Taiwan short of an invasion, such as a blockade. He said the relevant sections in his book would be "a good place to start" for expats to think about the potential scenarios.

The section "Military Attack by China" is broken into two sub-sections: "Official U.S. State Department Advisories" and "Stay or Go?" Groot said there would likely be an advanced warning of an attack by the PLA, and one could gauge the danger level and timeframe based on the State Department's four travel advisory levels.

However, he warned that warning levels could change suddenly, such as a Level 2 for COVID-19 jumping to Level 4 just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yet in the case of the military exercises launched by the PLA when Pelosi visited Taiwan in 2022, there were no special alerts issued.

He wrote that an upgrade from a Level 2 to a Level 3 based on China's military activities could indicate a "First Warning" when "many expats and locals would leave Taiwan, judging this to be a good time to get out of the country." A "Last Warning" would be the issuance of a Level 4 advisory, by which time there would likely be "considerable fear and panic" and it would "suddenly become incredibly hard to book a flight."

Groot said under the "one warning scenario," the "First Warning" and "Last Warning" could be issued simultaneously. At this stage, Groot predicted that there would be chartered flights by the U.S., Japan, and Western allies for their citizens, as well as flights operated by private risk-management firms.

When the "Final Deadline" is reached, no more commercial flights would be available and only Non-combatant Evacuation Operations conducted by the defense department could still be underway for U.S. citizens, dependents, and employees.

In the worst-case scenario, there is no warning, and foreign citizens would be stranded in Taiwan indefinitely.

Under the "Stay or Go?" section, Groot listed ways to decide whether to leave or stay, advanced preparations, and what steps to take once an attack is underway.

The author wrote that the odds of Taiwan allowing foreigners to fight for the country and forming a foreign legion such as Ukraine are slim. Instead, he suggested that foreigners could support Taiwan through civil defense efforts and publicizing the war through various forms of media.

Those wishing to download Groot's guidebook can message him directly on Facebook or email him at "resilience.roadmap.tw@gmail.com." The manual can also be downloaded from this website.