The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Saturday accused the government of promoting a “cult of personality” after soldiers were last week seen celebrating President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) with song and dance during an inspection in Tainan.
On Friday, Tsai attended a disaster response exercise of the army’s 54th Engineer Group.
After the drills, female soldiers made heart shapes with their hands while posing for photographs with the president.
Photo: Rictchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
As Tsai departed, they shouted: “We love you president,” before waving their hands in the air and singing pop diva A-mei’s (張惠妹) Whenever I Think About You, the lyrics of which include the line: “Happiness is how I feel whenever I think of you.”
KMT spokesman Chen Wei-chieh (陳偉杰) on Saturday wrote on Facebook that the incident was reminiscent of the military’s flattery culture of the past, and that it is inappropriate for heads of state to be the object of pageantries that exceed the bounds of customary military honors.
Tsai should not have used the pretext of touring the troops for self-aggrandizement, he wrote, adding that the public was “flabbergasted” by the display.
“People online are comparing what happened to scenes of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and this has caused embarrassment to our service members,” Chen wrote.
“The Democratic Progressive Party’s bad taste has harmed the image of soldiers as disciplined professionals, and the military should have taken care to maintain its neutrality from politics,” he added.
In response, an army spokesperson said the soldiers’ passionate display of spontaneity and innovation is within military regulations and should not be distorted.
The military hopes the public will respect the opinions of its personnel and continue their support of the armed forces, they added.
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