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China arrests popular blogger for questioning its Galwan valley casualties claim

(TibetanReview.net, Feb21’21) – For suggesting that a commander survived because he was the highest ranking officer and that more Chinese soldiers might have been killed in the Jun 2020 Galwan valley night clash with Indian troops than those disclosed by the authorities, China has detained a popular social media blogger, reported the scmp.com Feb 20.

Police in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing have detained Qiu Ziming, 38, a former reporter with the weekly Economic Observer, and who had 2.5 million followers on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. The vaguely defined crime carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Qiu published his views in two posts on Feb 19 and the Nanjing Bureau of Public Security has accused him of demeaning Chinese military casualties in the border clash and of poking fun at the commander.

The posts quickly attracted attention of the Communist Youth League’s Central Committee, which made a terse disapproving comment on the same day. A day later, Weibo announced that Qiu’s two accounts had been closed.

It was on Feb 19 that the Chinese military ended its months-long silence to say that four soldiers – Chen Hongjun, 33, Xiao Siyuan, 24, Wang Zhuoran, 24 and Chen Xiangrong, 18 – were killed in the conflict in the Galwan Valley in June. Their commanding officer Qi Fabao, 41, was badly wounded.

Several precious reports have suggested that the Chinese dead in that clash numbered more than 40 against an acknowledged 20 on the Indian side.

In a commentary on Feb 20, state news agency Xinhua accused Qiu of “damaging the reputation of heroes, hurting nationalistic feelings and poisoning patriotic hearts” with his “sensational” posts.

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