Information Vacuum on Chinese Casualties in Border Clash Fuels Rumors of Multiple PLA Deaths

  • Our Bureau
  • 03:55 PM, June 17, 2020
  • 1946
Information Vacuum on Chinese Casualties in Border Clash Fuels Rumors of Multiple PLA Deaths
A Chinese Patrol in Tibet @ChinaMil

While admitting to casualties on its side during a clash with Indian soldiers in the Galwan valley on June 15, the Chinese government has not provided any information on the number or type of casualties suffered by its Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers.

India has released information on the loss of life of 20 of its soldiers blaming the Chinese side for entering its side of the border; China has officially made no comment on the casualties among its soldiers leading to a huge information vacuum which have caused rumors about the number of Chinese dead and injured.

Reports in the Indian media have put the number of Chinese deaths at 48 while some Western media outlets have put the figure at 38. The beak-up of  Chinese dead and injured varies wildly in different media. The rumors also paint a picture of barbarity on the part of the Chinese- assault on unarmed Indian soldiers with clubs, stones, knives and other “stone-age” weapons.  

The reason for withholding information; according to an editorial in the Chinese semi-official Global Times newspaper today, “the Chinese side did not disclose the number of casualties of the Chinese military, to avoid comparing and preventing confrontational sentiments from escalating.”

Information Vacuum on Chinese Casualties in Border Clash Fuels Rumors of Multiple PLA Deaths
In better times: Chinese, Indian soldiers during a 2019 joint exercise @ChinaMil

Prof Shamik Ravi, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute wrote on Twitter, “India has released details of all men lost in #GalwanValley, while China has not released any details on PLA casualties. *This* is the fundamental difference between a democracy and an authoritarian regime.”

Throwing some more light on the turn of events on June 15, an official Indian statement today said, “The Chinese side sought to erect a structure in Galwan valley on our side of the LAC. While this became a source of dispute, the Chinese side took pre-mediated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violent casualties. It reflected intent to change the facts on ground in violation of all our agreements.”

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a phone call on Wednesday with his Indian counterpart demanded that India carry out a thorough investigation into the incident, punish those who should be held accountable, strictly discipline Indian frontline troops, and immediately stop all provocative actions,  regarding the Monday border confrontation that caused casualties on both sides in the Galwan Valley, Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

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