The suspicious circumstances surrounding the drowning of a young enlisted seaman in the Navy in June has once again exposed the abuses of human rights in Taiwan's military. Mr. Huang Kuo-chang, a 19-year-old sailor on active duty, was reported missing near Kaohsiung port on June 9, but his body was found a week later near the Chinese coast. The cause of Huang's death was ruled a "suicide" by his Navy superiors, "...because Huang suffered from psychiatric problems."
However, Huang's mother said that her son did not have any psychiatric problems before he enlisted in the Navy. She accused the Navy of trying t0 cover up the cause of her son's death by tossing his body overboard. She suspected that her son died as a result of physical abuses by his superiors.
On 21 June 1995, a DPP legislator, Mr. Chu Hsin-yu, disclosed in an interpellation that there are 2,355 peacetime deaths in the military over the past five years. The army recorded the highest number of deaths 1174, followed by 426 recorded by the navy, and 326 by the air force. The leading cause, according to official records, was death on mission, then accidental death and suicide.
Mr. Chu demanded the military issue a full list of those killed and make public the results of investigation into the causes of these peacetime deaths.
On 10 August 1995, DPP legislator Mrs. Yeh Chu-lan and an aide to National Assembly member Chen Yung-hsing, presented further evidence of foul play, which they had discovered during a fact-finding mission to the coastal town in Fukien Province, where Mr. Huang's body was brought ashore by a mainland fisherman.
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