Indian media outlets have been claiming that around 45 Chinese soldiers were killed in clashes with Indian troops in the Galwan Valley. Chinese official media has blatantly blamed India for the violent clashes that erupted between the soldiers of India and China on June 15.
The Chinese media is silent on the casualties of its soldiers. Apart from China’s official statement, most of the media is not directly commenting on the border conflict where 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Government daily newspaper Global Times has warned India that it should keep its troops under control and affirmed that Chinese military power was superior to that of India.
This border clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers did not appear to be trending in China’s social media website Weibo (akin to Twitter). However, some Weibo users questioned China’s silence over the casualties and some even asked for revenge against India.
A user said that China’s domestic media is giving information to people outside the country through Twitter and other English language sites.
However, there was hardly any mention of the border clash with India in the June 17 issue of the People’s Daily, the ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper, and the evening domestic news bulletin aired on June 16 on state TV channel China Central Television (CCTV).
On 17 June, China’s official website Global Times placed the statement of Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the website. The website said that Wang Yi blamed Indian troops for the skirmishes and asked India to abide by the previous pacts to reduce tension on the border.
According to an English report from the Global Times, on 16 and 17 June, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the Indian Army of crossing the border and attacking Chinese troops but was silent on any casualties.
Zhao’s remarks made on 16 June were not on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs, nor was it covered by domestic Chinese-language media houses, according to reports.
However, the official news agency Xinhua and other official domestic media had taken the statement of Colonel Zhang Shuli on 16 June. Colonel Shuli is the spokesman of the Tibet Military Region, which oversees the border with India.
Shuli accused Indian soldiers of crossing the disputed border in an ‘illegal’ manner and carrying out ‘provocative’ attacks on Chinese soldiers. At the same time, CCTV made a report on 17 June in which the Chinese Army is currently conducting a high-altitude exercise on the Tibetan Plateau, which is a new military exercise along the Indian border after the May drills.
Confusion over casualties
The Chinese domestic media has not reported on the number of casualties on the Chinese side. However, Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen tweeted from her account on June 16 and said that five Chinese soldiers were killed and 11 injured in violent clashes without firing.
I cited an Indian source of @NewsLineIFE about a physical clash at LAC China-India border yesterday. No confirmation from the official Chinese source regarding casualties yet. It is unprofessional for Indian media to say this is official news from the Chinese side. @IndiaToday pic.twitter.com/OIGBKq61Gn
— Wang Wenwen (@WenwenWang1127) June 16, 2020
But she later deleted the tweet and said in a new tweet – I cited an Indian source of @NewsLineIFE about a physical clash at LAC China-India border yesterday. No confirmation from the official Chinese source regarding casualties yet. It is unprofessional for Indian media to say this is official news from the Chinese side. @IndiaToday
Later, Global Times editor Hu Shijin posted on Twitter and Weibo that according to his understanding, Chinese soldiers have also ‘suffered damage’ in the skirmish but did not provide any numbers.
Hu wrote on Twitter on June 16 in English and Weibo on June 17, “17 injured Indian soldiers reportedly died due to lack of in-time rescue, which reflects the serious flaws of Indian army to provide emergency treatment to the wounded. This is not an army with real modern combat capabilities at plateau. Indian public opinion needs to stay sober. “
17 injured Indian soldiers reportedly died due to lack of in-time rescue, which reflects the serious flaws of Indian army to provide emergency treatment to the wounded. This is not an army with real modern combat capabilities at plateau. Indian public opinion needs to stay sober.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 16, 2020