China Struggles to Mollify or Censor Anguished Relatives of Soldiers Killed on Indian Border

Photo taken on July 10, 2008 shows a Chinese soldier (L) gesturing next to an Indian soldi

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to avoid disclosing how many of its soldiers were killed in a bloody brawl with Indian soldiers in the Himalayas last week are reportedly running afoul of anguished Chinese families who want their government to acknowledge the deaths of their loved ones.

CCP officials are struggling to either mollify or silence them.

The Indian government disclosed 20 fatalities from the melee, and several Indian officials have claimed China lost over twice as many of its own troops. The Chinese government has acknowledged the deaths of only a few officers so far.

The Times of India on Friday noted the first tacit admissions from Chinese state media that it suffered casualties comparable to those of the Indians:

Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party regime’s mouthpiece, wrote that “the dead have been treated with the highest respect in the military, and that information will eventually be reported to society at the right time, so the heroes can be honored and remembered as they deserve.”

The editorial came two days after a video emerged from China showing that the families of People’s Liberation Army personnel were outraged by the fact that unlike Indian soldiers, their martyrs had received no honor and no acknowledgement. Though Global Times admitted that “less than 20” PLA soldiers were killed, the government has remained tight-lipped on the issue

Hu claimed the Chinese military is keeping the identities of its fallen soldiers secret as an “expedient move with the aim of not irritating public opinion in the two countries,” an excuse Chinese officials have given before.

India Today noted that angry Chinese citizens used Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, to express their frustration over the secrecy of their government.

“Their online outpourings, some of them subtle for apparent fears of consequences, suggest they are growing anxious as official statements neither confirm nor deny casualties from the June 15 fighting,” India Today wrote, noting that Weibo is currently brimming with photos, videos, and news articles borrowed from Indian media because of the Chinese media blackout.

“India has held a memorial service for the sacrificial soldiers. It shows the high respect and attention of the whole country of India to the soldiers who defend the country and the land. It shows the high degree of solidarity of the Indian nation. What about us? We should learn from India and show respect to our soldiers,” said one of the Weibo posts in question.

Other Chinese citizens reportedly posting online said they were worried about soldiers stationed near the Indian border and their families, warned their government is losing credibility by refusing to honor its troops, and complained about fellow Chinese who are taking the claim of virtually zero PLA casualties seriously and cruelly taunting Indians for getting creamed in the border brawl.

“Just want to understand why the casualties of the People’s Liberation Army are not released but they are expected to sacrifice their lives for the protection of the nation? Come on, China only plays tricks on the outside and suppresses opinions on the inside,” a Weibo user grumbled.


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