Scouts’ Day in Taiwan Date in the current year: March 5, 2024

Scouts’ Day in Taiwan Scouts’ Day, also known as Chinese Scout Day, is celebrated in the Republic of China (Taiwan) on March 5 every year. It commemorates the founding of Boy Scouts of China in Guangzhou on this day in 1916.

The history of scouting in Taiwan dates back to the times when the Republic of China (ROC) was based in mainland China. The first scouting troop in the country was organized by Reverend Yen Chia-lin in the town of Wuchang (now part of Wuhan) on February 25, 1912, less then two months after the establishment of the ROC during the Xinhai Revolution.

From there, the scouting movement began to spread across the country. A nationwide scouting organization, the Chinese National Boy Scouts, was established in Guangzhou, then known as Canton, on March 5, 1916. The present-day General Association of the Scouts of China (Taiwan) celebrates this day as its founding anniversary. At some point, it was renamed Boy Scouts of China. The first jamboree (scout gathering) in the ROC was held in Nanjing in 1930; it had more than 3,600 participants, both boy and girl scouts, from all over the country.

The National Headquarters of Boy Scouts of China was formally reorganized into the General Association of the Scouts of China in 1934. The first president of the Association was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The second jamboree was held in 1936, with an attendance of about 11,000. In 1937, the Association joined the Boy Scouts International Bureau, now known as the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and a group of Chinese boy scouts attended the 5th World Scout Jamboree in the Netherlands.

In 1941, the Association had about 570,000 registered members; many of them actively participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1945. During the war, the Japanese military authorities’ treatment of the scouting movement in the occupied territories of China varied. Scouting was entirely prohibited in the areas with strong anti-Japanese sentiments, but in the areas where the locals were less hostile, the occupational authorities permitted local scouting or introduced Japanese-style scouting (Shōnendan). The Japanese also introduced Shōnendan on the island of Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony from 1895 to 1945.

Following the capitulation of Japan, Taiwan was placed under the governance of the ROC. Soon after, all scouting activities in China were interrupted by the resumption of the Chinese Civil War between the nationalist government of the ROC and the Communists. In 1949, the ROC government was defeated in the war and withdrew to Taiwan, where it remains today. The General Association of the Scouts of China was reorganized the following year and resumed its membership in the WSOM. The third national jamboree took place in 1956 in Kaohsiung.

Today, the Scouts of China has about 54,000 members (scouts and leaders) and around 2,000 units nationwide. The youth program has five sections based on the age: Beaver Scouts (5–8), Cub Scouts (8–12), Scouts (11–15), Senior Scouts (14–18), and Rover Scouts (17–29). Young people aged 18 or older can register as adult Scout Leaders. The Association also has a Sea Scout program with two sections: Sailors (12–20) and Leaders (20 or older).

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Scouts’ Day in Taiwan, Chinese Scout Day, holidays in Taiwan, scouting movement, General Association of the Scouts of China