New Delhi: There has been an outpouring of anger and grief on China’s microblogging platform site Weibo following revelations that the country lost four soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops in June last year.
While India admitted in June itself that it lost 20 of its soldiers in the clashes at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China’s revelation came on 19 February when it honoured four killed soldiers and an injured officer for their efforts.
On the same day, angry and grief-stricken messages flooded Weibo. One post shared a video of Chinese soldiers and stated (translated through Google), “The motherland will never forget! He once angrily reprimanded foreign troops on the border…” The post was referring to Qi Fabao, a regimental commander of the PLA Xinjiang Military Command who was wounded in the Galwan clash. The video showed Fabao angrily gesturing at Indian troops from an earlier time.
Another user referred to Indian soldiers as squirrels. “Do you know how many soldiers will die every time you fight those squirrels…?” the post said.
Users also praised the People’s Liberation Army. “In order to protect the Chinese people, the Chinese soldiers have a very tough attitude and will not give in,” said one user.
“The Chinese are still too kind and don’t want to see blood,” said another while a third wrote, “If the motherland needs me, please bury me in a remote hill, so that my body will grow an invisible barrier”.
Not all posts, however, were glowing of the PLA. According to Chinese state-affiliated English publication Global Times, a Weibo user surnamed Qiu and known online as Labixiaoqiu was arrested “for smearing PLA martyrs killed in the Galwan Valley border clash with India”.
The report does not elaborate on what his post said but noted that his Weibo account, with over 2.5 million followers, had been suspended.
The Chinese revelations
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese military, Friday reported that the Central Military Commission issued commendations to the servicemen for “bravely fighting back hostilities provoked by foreign forces at the Galwan Valley”, according to Xinhua News.
The Chinese honoured included Battalion Commander Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran. “They all died in a clash with trespassing foreign military personnel wielding steel tubes, cudgels and stones last June,” said the Xinhua News report.
“Qi Fabao, who was seriously injured in the skirmish, received the title of ‘hero regiment commander for defending the border’,” it added.
Angry messages flood Indian Embassy account
China correspondent for The Hindu, Ananth Krishnan, noted on Twitter, “The Indian Embassy in Beijing is seeing its Weibo mentions flooded since last night with angry messages, many of them abusive.”
The Indian Embassy in Beijing is seeing its Weibo mentions flooded since last night with angry messages, many of them abusive. More messages than it's ever likely received, including last year.
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) February 20, 2021
Even a Twitter post by the Indian Embassy in Beijing account has elicited angry responses, with one comment in Chinese saying, “Daily greetings, is your family dead?”
— 敢敢是憨憨 (@AnnaSmi34287261) February 19, 2021
Krishnan also posted trending topics on Weibo from 19 February: “The second most trending topic on Weibo now is China’s foreign ministry commenting on the Galwan deaths. General flavour of comments: not comparing the two countries’ casualties, but lots of anger that China lost four soldiers…”.
The second most trending topic on Weibo now is China's foreign ministry commenting on the Galwan deaths. General flavour of comments: not comparing the two countries' casualties, but lots of anger that China lost four soldiers; explains the reluctance and delay in announcing pic.twitter.com/p87wwuKWBJ
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) February 19, 2021
ThePrint contacted Weibo over the number of posts and hashtags related to the Galwan Valley incident on its platform but is yet to get a response. The copy will be updated when a response is received.