Authorities in China have said they have arrested three bloggers for ‘insulting’ Chinese soldiers who died in the Galwan Valley clash on June 15 last year.
Qiu Ziming, an investigative journalist, formerly with The Economic Observer, is among the three arrested. Qiu had questioned the number of dead declared by the Chinese government.
Qiu was arrested on Saturday in Nanjing. The Chinese military, on Fri day, honoured five People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers, including four who died and a commander who was injured, in the Galwan Valley clash. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in the worst violence on the India-China border since 1967.
Qiu, to his 2.5 million followers on Weibo, the Twitter-equivalent used in China, suggested the fatalities would have been higher than four.
He also questioned why it took the Chinese state eight months to acknowledge deaths when the Indian side acknowledged their deaths immediately. Qiu wrote that India’s prompt announcement suggested that “in India’s view they won and paid a lesser price”.
Nanjing cops posted a message saying Qiu was arrested for “releasing false information and smearing the four heroes who died and one who was wounded when dealing with the Indian military’s illegal trespassing”.
He was arrested “for the offence of stirring up trouble that brought about a severe negative social impact,” the Global Times reported, saying that “he made a full confession to his illegal smearing of martyrs which he made in order to cause an internet sensation”.
Qiu’s social media account was subsequently suspended.
On Sunday, a second blogger was detained for comments made during a group chat on WeChat. The cops in Beijing said they had received a report “of a person aged 28, surnamed Chen, publishing insulting comments in a group chat about the PLA soldiers who died when dealing with the Indian military’s illegal trespassing in the Galwan Valley.”
“The comments sparked fury among other members in the group,” reported the Global Times, “who later reported his remarks to the police. The case was quickly investigated, and local police found Chen on Saturday evening, who said he had done it to vent his emotions. Chen was detained, and the case is undergoing further investigation.”
The third person was identified as a 25-year-old surnamed Yang, detained in southwestern Sichuan province, Mianyang, after he was reported for posting “smears toward the PLA soldiers, who fought in the China-India border clash.” According to police authorities, “under social pressure, Yang confessed to the police the following day, and he was given seven days of detention.”