Media reports estimate that over 200,000 protesters gathered in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, to mark the funeral of a conscript soldier. Many of the crowd sung a Taiwanese version of the Les Miserables song ‘Do you hear the people sing’.
The soldier – Hung Chung-chiu, 24 – died on July 3rd, after being punished for bringing a smartphone onto his military base. Hung was subjected to severe punishments under the hot Taiwanese summer sun and later died of heatstroke.
Several army officers have been charged with his death and the defence minister has resigned. The Taiwanese president, Ma Ying-Jeou, has also apologised for the death and vowed to bring justice to the case.
Conscription is still mandatory in Taiwan, although it is beginning to be phased out. When he died Hung was just three days short of completing his one-year period of service.