Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) on Friday accepted the resignation of Chou Chieh-min (周傑民), the Hualien County Government’s civil affairs department director, and apologized for Chou’s “eventual unification” remarks, which has sparked outrage.
Chou tendered his resignation on Wednesday shortly after his controversial comments triggered a backlash and Fu consented to it after returning to Hualien from a meeting with the central government in Taipei, the Hualien County Government said in a press release on Friday night.
The press release also contained Fu’s apology over the social disturbance caused by Chou’s “inappropriate rhetoric.”
When seeing off a group of new recruits on Wednesday at the Hualien train station, Chou said: “It is inevitable that both sides of the Strait will be unified. Whether you like it or not, history shows the truth of the phrase: ‘long divided, must unite; long united, must divide.’ I am telling you, it is inevitable that both sides of the Strait will unite.”
“No one knows if cross-strait unification will be a good thing, but at least it is in our hands to decide, with Taiwan’s best interest at heart, when and how to unify [with China.] This is what we should strive for and we must have the right perspective,” added Chou, a former division chief at the Air Force General Headquarters and a former director at the Armed Forces Reserve Command.
Chou’s remarks prompted public fury, with some taking to the Internet to vent their indignation and others calling councilors to complain.
“If unification will be the eventual outcome, then why on earth is the government still enlisting young men for the armed forces?” one netizen wrote.
Another netizen said the government trying to sell out Taiwan is no longer news, because it is now giving away the country for free.
Hualien county councilors demanded Chou apologize and made a special report about his remarks at an interim meeting on Friday.
Hualien County Councilor Chuang Chih-tsai (莊枝財) said Chou, as an ex-military officer, should not have made such comments.
“Besides, the future of Taiwan, whether unification [with China] or formal independence, should be decided by its 23 million people, not government officials,” Chuang said.
Hualien County Councilor Ho Li-tai (何禮台) said China’s “united front” tactics had penetrated so deeply into Taiwanese society that its people must remain united to avoid falling into China’s traps.
When asked by Ho to elaborate on what he meant by “eventual unification,” Chou said what he meant was the “unification of China under the Three Principles of the People” (三民主義統一中國).