President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will host a series of seminars across the nation over the next week in an effort to boost the morale of the armed forces and help smooth the process of implementing military reforms, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
Starting today, the president will visit bases throughout the country, meeting with senior military officers and discussing military reform issues, the ministry said.
During the seminars, Ma will talk about reform in areas such as human rights protection, administrative management, the right to complain about illegal and unfair treatment and disciplinary confinement, the ministry said.
The seminars will be completed by Sept. 3, the nation’s annual Armed Forces Day, ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said.
The president’s initiative comes amid public outrage over the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), who died on July 4 after he was confined and subjected to strenuous exercises in extreme heat.
The incident sparked massive public protests, brought down a minister of defense, forced the government to turn over the trial of military personnel to civilian courts during peacetime and inflicted untold damage on the military’s image and morale at a time when it is moving toward an all-volunteer force.
On Friday last week, Ma visited the outlying island of Kinmen, where he attended activities to mark the 55th anniversary of an artillery battle between Taiwan and China.
The president mingled with the troops that are stationed there in an attempt to boost their morale.