Celebrate Armed Forces Day with genuine reform
The China Post news staffOn Tuesday, dozens of citizens joined a campaign in front of Presidential Office to celebrate Taiwan's Armed Forces Day in a very unique fashion.
September 7, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Nearly 40 people, most of them former conscripts and discharged soldiers, joined the campaign's organizer, Hunter Peng (彭少康), in performing 1,000 jumping jacks on Ketagalan Boulevard to show support for the country's armed forces. Peng, a former paratrooper, told local media that he wanted to encourage the military on Armed Forces Day.
The campaign comes as the military needs encouragement amid controversy over the tragic death of Army Corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘). The 24-year-old died in early June after being wrongfully thrown into a military brig and ordered to perform strenuous exercises in extreme heat.
The incident sparked a public outcry, brought down a defense minister and forced the government to launch a series of reforms to the military judicial system. It also seriously marred the image of the armed forces and has reportedly had a negative impact on the military's volunteer recruitment drive.
In an effort to boost the morale of Taiwanese troops, Peng launched his campaign in early August, asking participants to upload photos of themselves in dress uniform ahead of Armed Forces Day. He hoped to collect photos from 50,000 participants in the campaign, and he promised that if that goal was achieved, he would do 1,000 jumping jacks in front of the Presidential Office.
Peng's campaign drew support from some of the families of military personnel, as well as some retired military personnel. Although he ultimately only managed to collect photos of around 40,000 people by the big day, Peng still wished to make good on his pledge to boost military morale following the Hung incident, which Peng called an isolated case. The majority of armed forces personnel are responsible and law-abiding people, he noted, adding that Hung's death should not tarnish the reputation of the armed forces as a whole.
The China Post has the highest regard for Peng and his efforts to cheer up the troops. We tend to agree with him that although Hung's tragic death could be a wake-up call for the military and that it has exposed a dark side of the military, the majority of our soldiers have been diligently doing their duty round-the-clock to defend our country.