- Posted August 3, 2013 by
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Near A Quarter Million Taiwanese Gathered to Protest for Human Rights Violation in Its Military
What we know: Taiwan's official news agency, CNA, reported that as many as 110,000 demonstrators attended a rally at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Saturday over the July death of young Army corporal, Hung Chung-chiu. He died of heatstroke a few days before the end of his compulsory year of service after being forced to exercise excessively as punishment for taking a smartphone and MP3 player onto the base. Eighteen officers have been indicted over the incident, but the military's handling of the investigations have triggered condemnations among the general public, CNA reported.
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
Near a quarter million Taiwanese marched and gathered in front of the Presidential Office Building on the night of August 3rd (local time) demanding justice for the tragic death of young Corporal Hung Chung-Chu (洪仲丘) and the improvement of human rights issues in the country’s military, Republic of China Army (RCA).
The mysterious death of Corporal Hung has been the center of this island’s attention for a month since its reporting in early July. Though the government and its military police have vowed to investigate thoroughly, many have not yet been satisfied with the results. Corrupted key evidences and many statements with either incomplete or suspicious information released by the military police investigation unit only fueled people’s anger and frustration toward the government.
The protest on August 3rd was aimed to pressure the government for more detailed and open investigation into Hung’s tragedy and improvements for soldiers’ rights in RCA. A Facebook group named "Citizen 1985" organized and called for the protest.
Over hundreds of thousands of users showed their support online by sharing the information of this event via Facebook, YouTube, and other social media channels. The majority of the event participants are believed to be young men and women in their 20s. Many perceived this event as a new milestone of social movement activity for young Taiwanese.
The government spokesman and the President of the Executive Yua, Chiang Yi-Huah (江宜樺), held a press conference later at night responding to the protest. Chiang reassured the public that the government will devote its effort to provide a practical and swift improvement plan for the human rights issues in the military and the military court justice system. However, Chiang also stated that the government will respect the investigation results done by the military police and the will not interfere nor involve with the case further.
Many are skeptical about such announcement due to the lack of government action to face these issues in the past. It is fair to say that more protest events are to be expected in the following weeks if there is no sign of change or progress on Hung's case.
Photo Courtesy of local Internet user jake0000