'Glimpse of Hidden Causalities': China Rapped for Making its Galwan Valley Soldier Torchbearer of Winter Olympics
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
China, known for its expansionist policies, has kicked off another row after it selected a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) solider — who was deployed at Galwan Valley during clashes with India in 2020 — as a torchbearer at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Torch Relay on Wednesday. The standoff had became one of the fiercest border clashes between the two armies since the 1962 war.
Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang military command, who suffered a serious head injury during the Galwan Valley border skirmish on June 15, 2020, took the flame from Wang Meng, China’s four-time Olympic short track speed skating champion, at Winter Olympic Park on Wednesday, China’s Global Times reported.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas. While twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash, China did not put out its numbers. However, Russian news agency TASS reported that 45 Chinese soldiers died in the standoff.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area. Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.
The ‘Notorious’ China
The China, however, did not stop there. Later in August 2021, more than 100 Chinese troops reportedly transgressed into Indian territory through the border point at Barahoti ridge in Uttarakhand. They entered more than 5 kilometres into the Indian territory by crossing the Tun Jun La in the area, reports stated.
The Chinese soldiers reportedly damaged some infrastructure in the area, including a bridge, and left before patrol teams of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police could reach the spot. They also brought 55 horses along with them and stayed in the area for around three hours during the reported incursion.
China has been quite sensitive about the Galwan Valley clash. Last year, it had sentenced a Chinese internet celebrity to eight months in jail for “defaming" its soldiers killed in the standoff with Indian troops. This was the first reported case of a suspect being charged after China passed a new law in 2018 which stipulates that it is illegal to defame the country’s heroes and martyrs.
On New Year, China had released a propaganda video of PLA soldiers unfurling their national flag in the region, following which it further tried to get public support over the standoff and offered stones from Galwan Valley to netizens on February 1.
On its official account on Twitter-like Sina Weibo, the western theatre command (WTC) of People’s Liberation Army released a notice saying on February 1, it will “..randomly choose 10 lucky netizens from those, who reposted the notice and send them a stone from the Galwan Valley as a present."
Covid-19 & China
Besides the expansionist plans, China has been under attack from other countries over the outbreak of coronavirus that has led of loss of lives and hampered economies globally. Many suspect that the coronavirus may have escaped, accidentally or otherwise, from a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus was first recorded.
The supporters of the theory point to the presence of a major biological research facility in the city. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been studying coronaviruses in bats for over a decade. The institute is a 40-minute drive from the Huanan wet market where the first cluster of infections emerged in Wuhan.
The controversial theory first emerged early on in the pandemic, and was promoted by then-US President Donald Trump. Some even suggested it could have been engineered as a possible biological weapon.
While many in the media and politics dismissed these as conspiracy theories at the time, others called for more consideration of the possibility. US President Joe Biden had announced an investigation last year that to look into the theory as a possible origin of the disease.
How India & World Has Reacted to China’s Acts
Many have criticised China over for illegally entering into India, and trying to celebrate its expansionist policies.
“China trying to prove to the world that they were victorious in galwan skirmish Face with tears of joyFace with tears of joyjokes apart if a regimental Commander had head injury in a hand to hand combat that means u had many more casualties because Indian soldiers reached till ur commander in that combat @InsightGL (sic)," Twitter user Nishtha Tripathi posted.