More than 33,000 people have expressed interest in an event promoted on Facebook aimed at honoring the nation’s armed forces in the wake of an incident seen as highly damaging to the military’s image.
As of 5pm on Saturday, 33,932 Facebook users said they would participate in the event, while another 8,913 said they would probably take part.
Peng Shao-kang, the campaign’s organizer, is asking participants to dress in uniforms, camouflage or wear military paraphernalia, such as medals or arm patches, tomorrow — Armed Forces Day — or upload photographs of themselves dressed in military uniforms or camouflaged clothing.
The event seeks to encourage the public to “give support and encouragement to the military” since most servicemen and women “are working hard in their posts,” Peng said on Facebook.
Peng identified himself as an organizer of outdoor activities, such as rock climbing, and not an active-duty serviceman.
He said he served as a conscript in the Army Aviation Special Forces Command.
His campaign has drawn support from the families of active-duty soldiers and retired military personnel.
Military officers and officials from the nation’s three forces, including Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和), also expressed support for the event.
Lo joined many others in posting a photograph of himself dressed in an army uniform on the campaign’s Facebook page.
With supporters of the campaign expected to reach 50,000 in the next two days, Peng announced on Saturday that he would perform 1,000 jumping jacks in front of the Presidential Office to show his support for the military.
On Aug. 9, Peng initiated the “cheering our troops” campaign, following the controversy over the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), who died on July 4 after strenuous exercise at a detention barracks.
The incident sparked a public outcry and caused untold damage to the military’s image and morale at a time when the country is shifting to an all-volunteer force.