When India and China are holding talks to de-escalate and disengage from the remaining friction points at the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), Chinese state-controlled media is perpetuating the deadly Galwan conflict, which almost bought two nuclear-armed neighbors to war.
The state-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) released short videos of the “Pilot” series on 13 October as a mirror of China’s core values and military policy.
The series included a compilation of the previous interviews of Qi Fabao, China’s “Galwan Hero” and the Colonel who rose to fame during the India-China Galwan clash in the disputed border region in the summer of 2020.
In the video, Qi Fabao makes an emotional pitch about the PLA soldiers that guard the Chinese frontiers.
In the video, he can be heard saying with tears in his eyes: “We’re guarding the border, just keep it that way. Never a brother said to me, the hilltop is bitter. Didn’t say that the above conditions are very poor, Didn’t say these words.”
Qi Fabao, who was the head of the border defense regiment at the time when the conflict between Indian and Chinese troops broke out, could be further heard saying that in 2020, the “foreign military” (a reference to the Indian soldiers) blatantly violated the consensus reached with our side, an outright provocation. He said that he only brought a few officers and soldiers to negotiate to resolve the matter sincerely.
The territory of the motherland, not an inch of land! Feel the tender feelings and clanking vows of Qi Fabao, the hero head of defending the country. pic.twitter.com/ggmbFXyUGs
— SunSong _孫松 (@shandongSunsong) October 15, 2022
The officer accused India of not reciprocating the sincerity of China’s troops at the time and causing unwarranted provocation. He stated, in no unambiguous terms, “other party ignored our sincerity. The other side had premeditatedly hidden and mobilized a large number of troops to force us to back down.”
According to the Chinese version of events described by the Colonel and other sources, Qi Fabao opened his arms to block the foreign troops and screamed: “You destroy the consensus and bear all the consequences!”
China claims he was subsequently attacked by the opponent and hit hard in the head, following which another PLA comrade Chen Hongjun rescued him immediately. Chen Xiangrong fought at the forefront as a shield player, and Xiao Siyuan, who took the camera and collected evidence, also rushed to the front to fight.
— 山东小嫚（互fo秒回） (@amily85720687) October 14, 2022
In the conflict that ensued in the Galwan valley in 2020, India lost 20 of its soldiers, while China confirmed that four of its solers were killed. Beijing’s formal admission came almost eight months after the incident and was widely regarded as a gross understatement by the Indian side.
While the Chinese version has existed for a while, its reiteration in the Chinese media is significant owing to its timing.
The videos were released when the commanders of the two sides were trying to find a breakthrough in the almost three-year-long conflict after de-escalation from some friction points.
PLA’s Galwan Propaganda In Full Swing?
On the second anniversary of the Galwan Valley clash earlier this year, comrades-in-arms of border defense heroes and many Chinese netizens paid tribute to the martyrs, hailing them as true role models for the younger generation, as previously reported by EurAsian Times.
The service members received praise from China’s Central Military Commission in February 2021 for their valor in putting an end to foreign troops’ provocations in the Galwan Valley.
Further, on the Galwan conflict anniversary, Battalion Commander Chen Hongjun was posthumously awarded the “Border-Defending Hero” title. At the same time, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan, and Wang Zhuoran received first-class awards.
Meanwhile, Qi Fabao was selected by the Chinese government as the torchbearer for the Beijing Olympics this year, much to the displeasure of Indian authorities.
Chinese media reports have consistently maintained that their officers and soldiers displayed restraint and did their best to protect the bilateral ties and tranquility in border areas, despite illegal provocations from the Indian Army.
China maintains that while fighting back the aggressors, the border guards effectively safeguarded national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The latest compilation of Fabio’s interviews and the narrative presented by the short video series aligns with this view.
China’s State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe had declared earlier at the Shangri La dialogue that China bore no responsibility for any border conflicts between the two sides.
However, China’s propaganda comes when the two sides are inching towards holding another round of negotiations and normalizing ties.