(TibetanReview.net, Feb03’22) – The reason why China acts so worked up and extremely sensitive to any questioning of its sided of the story about the Galwan Valley clash of its and Indian soldiers in the intervening night of Jun 15-16, 2020 appears to be that it lost much, much greater number of soldiers than it dares to admit. While India reported that 20 of its soldiers, including a colonel, died and 76 were injured in that cross-border night raid from the occupied Tibet side of the border in Ladakh, China admitted only four deaths.
But now, based on a report prepared by a group of social media researchers after a year-long investigation, Australian newspaper The Klaxon said that China had lost at least 42 soldiers in that clash, including 38 by drowning.
The suggestion that China lost much more soldiers in that clash is not new. Indian and US intelligences services were reported to have estimated at that time that anywhere from 35 to 45 Chinese soldiers had died. China took days to admit even the four deaths.
The report said the Chinese soldiers who drowned got carried away while crossing the river in sub-zero temperatures and in darkness.
But of the four soldiers China confirmed had died, only one – Junior Sergeant Wang Zhuoran – reportedly drowned, the investigative newspaper said, citing the report titled “Galwan Decoded”.
The investigation was stated to have involved “discussions with mainland Chinese bloggers, information obtained from mainland-based Chinese citizens and media reports that have since been deleted by Chinese authorities.”
The report cited “several Weibo users” and said, “at least 38 PLA (People’s Liberation Army) troops along with Wang were washed away and drowned that night…of which only Wang was declared among the four officially dead soldiers”.
“Comrades in arms kept slipping and being rushed downstream,” the report said, adding, “After the incident, the bodies of the soldiers were first taken to Shiquanhe Martyr Cemetery, followed by local ceremonies at the local towns of the killed soldiers.” Shiquanhe is Chinese for the original Tibetan name Sengge Khabab, located in Gar (Chinese: Ge’er) County of Ngari (Ali) Prefecture.
The Klaxon cites the report as saying that a division of the Xinjiang Military Region “organized officers and soldiers to go to the Shiquane Martyr Cemetery to lay flowers to the revolutionary martyrs, organize party members to take an oath and sweep the tombs for heroes”.
The report cited a Weibo user (Qiang) as saying he had served in the area, adding that the Chinese army was creating infrastructure in the buffer zone, violating the mutual agreement with India and had been trying to expand its patrolling limits within the buffer zone since Apr 2020.
The Galwan Valley incident was stated to be the deadliest border skirmish between India and China since 1967 and the first time since 1975 that fatalities had taken place in a faceoff between the two sides.