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China cracks down on three bloggers for questioning numbers who died in the Galwan incident

China cracks down on three bloggers for questioning numbers who died in the Galwan incident

China’s security agency have ‘detained’ three bloggers for questioning Beijing's officially announced  casualty figures in the Galwan incident of June 15. Twenty Indian troops were killed inthe brawl but China says only four its troops lost their lives.

The arrested boggers are Qui Ziming (38), who was detained in Nanjing, 28-year old Chen, and Yang (25).

Qiu Ziming has been an investigative journalist formerly with The Economic Observer.  He was  arrested on Saturday in Nanjing, where he lives, after questioning China’s Galwan clash narrative.

China had released a propaganda video on Friday, alleging it to be the footage from the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020.

The video, released, comes on a day when Beijing for the first time acknowledged that four of its security personnel were also killed in the violent confrontation. It also said that the commanding officer was badly injured. In the video the commanding officer was seen walking with open arms towards Indian troops and trying to stop them.

Qiu Ziming , who runs an account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform with 2.4 million followers, wrote a post on the same day, questioning China’s video of the incident. “If you look at it carefully, the four who lost their lives were honoured for their ‘rescues.’ If even the people who went to save others were sacrificed, then that must mean there were people who weren’t saved, which means there must be more than four people who died,” he wrote in a Weibo post.

In messages to his 2.5 million followers on Weibo, he suggested the fatalities would have been higher than four because as per the official account, some of the soldiers died coming to the aid of troops in difficulty, who, in his view, would have suffered losses as well. Qiu also questioned why the announcement took eight months, while India had, in contrast, promptly recognised the 20 Indian soldiers who died. India’s prompt announcement, he wrote, suggested that “in India’s view they won and paid a lesser price”.

The Nanjing Bureau of Public Security said on Saturday that Qiu Ziming was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”– a vague crime that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Qiu had 2.4 million followers on Weibo when he published two posts on Friday that suggested a commander survived the clashes because he was the highest ranking officer there. Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) youth wing, the Communist Youth League’s Central Committee, complained after which Qiu was arrested in Nanjing.

On Sunday, a blogger  with Chen as the family name was arrested for comments made during a group chat on WeChat. The cops in Beijing said they had received a report "of a person aged 28, surnamed Chen, publishing insulting comments in a group chat about the PLA soldiers who died when dealing with the Indian military's illegal trespassing in the Galwan Valley."

"The comments sparked fury among other members in the group,” reported the Global Times, a Chinese government affiliated media, "who later reported his remarks to the police. The case was quickly investigated, and local police found Chen on Saturday evening, who said he had done it to vent his emotions. Chen was detained, and the case is undergoing further investigation."

Another blogger , a 25-year-old,  Yang, was arrested  in southwestern Sichuan province, after he posted  "smears toward the PLA soldiers, who fought in the China-India border clash." According to police authorities, "under social pressure, Yang confessed to the police the following day, and he was given seven days of detention."

Global Times has justified action against Qiu and other bloggers for posting false information.  “There is a bottom line for public opinion and a bottom line for the law. Anyone who tries to smear any heroic acts should be despised by the people and pay the price,” a People’s Liberation Army affiliated online media warned in a post. A law that came into effect on May 1, 2018 stipulates that it is illegal to defame the country's heroes and martyrs.