Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Military instructor faces charge of inciting treason

POLITICAL PROTEST Ignoring rules requiring military officers to distinguish their personal views from their jobs, a major took part in a demonstration in uniform

By Jimmy Chuang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Military High Court Prosecu-tors' Office yesterday confirmed that an active duty military officer was detained on Tuesday night and charged with inciting treason.

Major Tung Hwa-cheng (董華正), a military instructor at Taibei [senior] High School in Shilin (士林), took part in a protest in front of the Presidential Office on Sept. 20. He wore his full uniform, and tried to hide his identity by wearing a surgical mask and sunglasses.

At the protest, Tung showed a copy of a letter he had sent to Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑), in which he said any soldier would take the chance to murder the president during a war.

"[Tung's] participation in the protest was not a problem, but his appearing in uniform and his letter to the minister of national defense was a big problem," said Colonel Chiang Ming-ji (蔣明吉), a chief prosecutor at the Military High Court Prosecutors' Office.

Following extensive coverage by TV cable news channels of Tung's protest and his letter, the Ministry of National Defense began an investigation and identified Tung as the suspect.

"Although he disguised himself at the scene, his letter to the minister which he displayed alone qualifies for charges of inciting military personnel to treason," Chiang said.

"He may be convicted and be put behind bars for more than seven years just because of the letter," Chiang said.

He said that prosecutors had detained Tung because of the seriousness of the charges.

Tung did not clearly answer all of the questions prosecutors posed, Chiang said.

"It is a soldier's absolute duty to obey the nation's elected leaders. Any behavior encouraging other soldiers to betray the president is regarded as a violation of the Military Criminal Code (陸海空軍刑法)," Chiang said.

TRANSFER PROTESTED

In other news, another high school military instructor, Major Chang Liang-jung (張良榮), claimed yesterday that he was being transferred to a field unit because he published an article discussing the anti-corruption movement on his blog.

The military disputed that claim, saying Chang's transfer was routine.

Chang, accompanied by his sister and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), held a press conference in the legislature to complain about his transfer.

The major is assigned to Houli Senior High School in Taichung County as a military instructor.

He said he was informed on Oct. 27 that he would be transfered to a field unit next month.

"I didn't criticize President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), nor did I identify my name and profession in the article," Chang said.

"I don't understand why I have not been allowed to advocate the idea of `anti-corruption' on my blog, a cyberspace place where I express my thoughts. Isn't that a universal value?" he said.

Lee said the director of the Ministry of Education's Department of Student Military Training, Wang Fu-lin (王福林), on Sept. 30 had warned Chang that he would be disciplined for the article unless he took a low-profile approach and did not to reveal anything to the press and lawmakers.

"Chang has been keeping a low profile since then, but he was transferred in the end," Lee said.

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