Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 7
Has China indirectly admitted to casualties in the Galwan Valley clash on June 15?
A report in China Military website said recently, “A netizen surnamed Zhou was arrested by the police in accordance with the law.” He was charged with spreading rumours online by saying that “the poor quality of military vehicles supplied by the Dongfeng Off-road Company has caused the death (sic) of Chinese soldiers during the China-India border clash”.
China has so far not admitted to casualties in the Galwan Valley clash in which the Indian Army acknowledged 20 casualties, including the battalion Commanding Officer (CO).
Asked recently during a webinar to comment on reports of the US intelligence putting Chinese PLA casualties at 34, including the CO, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong sidestepped the question by stating that it would not be helpful to improving the situation.
The Chinese Military website said Dongfeng Company approached the local police as well as set up a special working group to investigate and verify the case after it learnt that an online-user Zhou had posted rumours had claimed on his “WeChat Moments” that internal corruption in the company led to the poor quality of its military vehicles, which resulted in the casualties of Chinese soldiers on the China-India border.
The website China Military is sponsored by the China People's Liberation Army. The story can be read here: Netizen arrested due to online rumor-mongering on military vehicle
Zhou was arrested by local police on August 4 and “confessed to his crime of rumour-mongering, showed remorse, and wrote a sincere apology letter”.
It is not clear what linkage Zhou sought to establish between the deaths in a remote place and alleged faults in Dongfeng vehicles as the report provided no further details.
The report was commented on social media by strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney. The punishment of writing an apology letter if unaccompanied by a jail term would suggest that Zhou may only have been venting his ire against the company.
China still hides its losses from the June 15 clashes with India. But now PLA's official website, China Military Online, reports the arrest of one citizen for blaming corruption in procurement of vehicles for the death of Chinese soldiers in those clashes. https://t.co/BBNysVJp02— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) August 7, 2020
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