Video footage surfaced this weekend depicting alleged soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) crying on a bus, presumably traveling to the Indian border territory of Ladakh, Taiwan News reported.
Pakistani comedian Zaid Hamid uploaded the footage to the WeChat social media platform, though the original post has now been deleted. Taiwan News did not independently verify the authenticity of the videos.
The footage shows a bus full of men wearing what appear to be PLA uniforms sobbing inconsolably while they sing the Chinese patriotic song “Green Flowers in the Army.” Taiwan News claimed the video was filmed at the Fuyang Railway Station in China’s Anhui province, on the other side of the country from the Indian border.
All of the soldiers are reportedly local college students, some of whom “proactively volunteered to serve in Tibet.”
Hamid also posted the footage to Facebook with the same caption as on WeChat. Accompanying Hamid’s upload was a message asserting that China’s “one-child policy is seriously hurting motivation level [sic] of our Chinese brothers.”
“We Pakistani support you China. Stay Brave,” he added.
Pakistan is an ally of the Chinese communist state and also maintains a longstanding border dispute with the Indian government over their competing claims in Kashmir.
The Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reported that Chinese state media appeared to admit that the video did depict Chinese soldiers, but that their tears were due to separating from their parents, not traveling to China’s western border.
“At that time, they were bidding farewell to their parents and sang the famous military song ‘Green Flowers in the Army’, and they sang ‘Go home when you celebrate your work’, completely contrary to the mood created by Taiwanese media,” the Indian newspaper quoted the Chinese state-run Global Times publication as insisting on Tuesday. The article the Hindustan Times quoted is not at press time available on the English-language website of the propaganda outlet.
China has been moving more and more military personnel to the disputed region in the wake of a June clash between the PLA and the Indian Army in the Galwan Valley, an Indian territory. Indian losses numbered at 20 and Indian government officials estimated the Chinese sustained double that number of casualties. China adamantly denied the Indian estimate, but has refused to release the actual casualty count, only admitting to multiple deaths through state media last week.
The clash broke out after Indian troops discovered a Chinese encampment on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the longstanding boundary between the two countries. Up until that point, the Indian and Chinese governments abided by a ban on the use of firearms at the border, though India terminated that agreement in the wake of the June skirmish. The militaries have since exchanged fire across the border with the first incident occurring in September near Pangong Tso, a lake that straddles the national boundaries. The exchange marked the first cross-border shots fired in 45 years.
India, in response to mounting tension, has moved to solidify its hold on the disputed region by sending tens of thousands of troops to the border and signing a military cooperation pact with Japan, which contends with Chinese maritime aggression in the Pacific.