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China lost twice as many soldiers as India in Galway Valley clash in June 2020; Australian journalist says many PLA troopers got washed away

Amid fresh political and diplomatic friction between India and China over their June 2020 border clashes, "first-hand accounts deleted from the Chinese social media", and revealed by an investigative Australian newspaper, says China had lost 42 soldiers in that clash -- many more than the four it had then claimed

Feb 04, 2022
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Galway Valley clash in June 2020 (Photo: Youtube)

Amid fresh political and diplomatic friction between India and China over their June 2020 border clashes, "first-hand accounts deleted from the Chinese social media", and revealed by an investigative Australian newspaper, says China had lost 42 soldiers in that clash -- many more than the four it had then claimed. 

The "PLA soldiers panicked into retreat" and at least 38 of them were washed away, the report in  The Klaxon,  pieced together by a group of social media researchers who parsed through Chinese social media, claims the Chinese soldiers who drowned in the Galwan river in June 2020 were in retreat after the clash with Indian troops

Anthony Klan, the Editor of The Klaxon, told NDTV that the Indian soldiers had come to ascertain whether the Chinese has removed their encampments in the buffer zone when the scuffle broke out. "In heading back across the river... the evidence is, the Chinese soldiers got washed away," he said on the basis of their information mining. 

In its report, The Klaxon said India's Colonel Santosh Babu and his troops had gone to the disputed area on June 15 to attempt to remove the Chinese encroachment, where People's Liberation Army Colonel Qi Fabao was present along with nearly 150 soldiers. But Qi Fabao "ordered his troops to form a battle formation, instead of discussing the issue on the lines of mutual consent made on June 6, 2020".

Colonel Qi attacked the Indian troops and to allow him to escape, two other PLA officers -- battalion commander Chen Hongjun and soldier Chen Xiangrong -- started a physical scuffle with the Indian troops, using steel pipes, sticks and stones. Colonel Qi was "hit in the head by an Indian army soldier", and "rushed back with serious injuries", the report read.

Quoting the social media researchers' report titled "Galwan Decoded", The Klaxon then reported that Hongjun and Xiangrong were "immediately silenced by the Indian army", meaning they were killed.

It said that "after Col. Fabao left the arena", and watching the "bodies of Major Chen Hongrun, Junior Sargeant Xiao Siyan and Private Chen Xianrong," that "PLA soldiers panicked into retreat".

"The PLA soldiers didn't even have time to wear water pants. They decided to cross the icy water of the river in pitch dark under the guidance of Wang... The river rose suddenly and injured comrades kept slipping and (being) washed downstream," The Klaxon reported, quoting the social media researchers' findings.

Colonel Santosh Babu was killed in the fighting along with 19 Indian soldiers.

In China's official version of events, only one soldier - Junior Sergeant Wang Zhuoran - drowned. Qi Fabao, the regiment commander who sustained a serious head injury, was among the 1,200 torchbearers in the Winter Olympics in Beijing which starts tomorrow. Col Qi was feted as a hero by the Chinese state media, which reported his inclusion in the games.

Beijing went to "extreme lengths to silence discussion about the battle" and in particular, any "discussion about the true number Chinese casualties'', the Australian daily reported.

Calling Beijing’s move to pick a Chinese soldier involved in the Galwan incident as an Olympic torchbearer “regrettable”, India Thursday said that its envoy will not attend the opening or closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics beginning Friday in Beijing. This, in effect, means that New Delhi will boycott the Olympics at the diplomatic level although it will send an athlete for the event.

Minutes after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson’s statement, the chief of public broadcaster Prasar Bharti, CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati, said that it “will not telecast live the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics being held in Beijing”.

India’s decision to boycott the games comes months after it adopted the BRICS joint statement in September last year, where it said, “We express our support to China to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

But the issue of the torchbearer and the Arunachal boy raised the pitch, sources said. China’s use of imagery and symbolism related to the Galwan clashes has irked Delhi, according to The Indian Express. 

(SAM)

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