|Then-deputy minister Yang addresses a crowd on July 20|
With the furor surrounding the death on July 4 of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) threatening to spiral out of control, it was only a matter of time before Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) stepped down to take responsibility for Hung’s death and the subsequent cover-up.
Although Hung’s family was right when they said on Monday that Kao’s replacement did not change a thing with regard to the case — as the 66-year-old was not directly responsible for the 24-year-old’s death — drastic action had to be taken and it was, for two main reasons.
For purely political reasons, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration needed to do something symbolic to show that it is being proactive about the case. When controversies snowball, it is not unusual for heads at the very top to roll. However, it is evident from the public’s reaction and that of the Hungs that the move was insufficient. The family, and the many others who over the years have been unable to obtain the truth about the mysterious deaths of young servicemen, want the cases to be solved. They want answers.
By appointing Deputy Minister of National Defence Andrew Yang (楊念祖), who was Kao’s deputy on policy issues since September 2009, the administration may have taken a step in the right direction.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. (Photo by the author)