China probing report of its national held in Dubai for commenting on Galwan clash

Wang Jingyu had questioned on social media why govt waited six months to release information about death of Chinese soldiers

China probing report of its national held in Dubai for commenting on Galwan clash

Photo for representation. — iStock

Beijing, May 31

China said on Monday that it is probing the case of a 19-year-old Chinese student who was held and later freed in Dubai on his way to the US after he fled from here after questioning the official media reports about last year’s clash between Indian and Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley.

Wang Jingyu, who holds permanent residency in the United States, was arrested in April by the United Arab Emirates authorities en route to Istanbul, Turkey, according to media reports from Dubai.

He sent out a message on May 20 calling on the international community for help after he was detained by Dubai police while transiting the country on his way out of China, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on May 27.

Activists and his supporters said plainclothes police officers arrested Wang as he came off an Emirates flight in April at the Dubai International Airport, trying to connect on to New York.

The State Department acknowledged his arrest, describing the case as a “human rights” concern and warning that he could have faced extradition to China, the RFA report said. 

Asked for his comments on Wang Jingyu’s arrest and release in Dubai and whether China is seeking his extradition, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “I have noted the relevant report”.

“As we speak, competent Chinese authorities are investigating and handling the case in accordance with law,” he told a media briefing here on Monday. There should not be any speculation about this incident, he added.

Wang Jingyu, who spoke to RFA’s Mandarin Service UAE, said that he was detained shortly after he got off the plane in Dubai.

“I was just about to head to the transit security check area, when I was suddenly stopped at the gate for no apparent reason,” he said.

“The allegations against me were trumped up,” he told RFA.

Wang Jingyu, who hails from the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, said he suspected that the Chinese government may be behind his detention, and that the criminal case could be used as a pretext to force him to return to China.

On February 21, state-run Global Times reported that two netizens were detained in China for allegedly smearing four People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers who were killed in last year’s Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops.

They were reportedly detained under a 2018 law which stipulates that it is illegal to defame the country’s heroes and martyrs.

While the Indian Army quickly announced that 20 of its personnel were killed in the clash with Chinese soldiers on June 15, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army took some eight months to reveal that it had lost four of its military personnel and one officer was injured.

Wang then publicly questioned on social media why the Chinese government waited six months to release the information about the death of Chinese soldiers, sparking a harassment campaign that saw him flee to Istanbul, the Associated Press (AP) quoted rights activists as saying.

Police in Wang’s hometown of Chongqing reportedly have cited him for violating a 2018 law against demeaning heroes and martyrs and called his parents in for questioning, the report said.

Meanwhile, state-run Global Times reported on Monday that the ruling Communist Party of China, which marks its 100th founding anniversary on July 1 this year, will honour Chen Hongjun, one of Chinese military personnel killed in the Galwan Valley clash. PTI

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