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Sunday 23 February 2020

Chinese soldier — jailed, released, married in India — returns

Wang Chang Qi was captured in 1963 after the India-China war and jailed; the Chinese soldier married a local woman in Tirodi, Madhya Pradesh, in 1974 and visited China again not before 2017

Bhopal: A former Chinese soldier, who got married in Madhya Pradesh in 1974 and returned to his native country for the first time in 2017, on Thursday got a visa to visit his children in India, his family said. Wang Chang Qi (80) was captured by Indian forces in 1963 after the India-China war. Convicted for spying, he was in Indian jails for six years till his release in 1969.

The Chinese soldier married a local woman in Tirodi village of Madhya Pradesh in 1974 and settled there, raising a family comprising two sons and two daughters, before visiting his homeland for the first time in 2017, almost 54 years after he first came to India.

“My father first returned to China on 10 February 2017 and came back on 10 May 2017. His second visit to China was in August 2017 and he returned in October 2017 as my mother was sick and died later,” Vishnu Wang (38), son of the ex-soldier, told a news agency from Tirodi in the Naxal-infested Balaghat district.

“He went to China again in January 2018 and returned in April-May the same year. His fourth visit to China was on 1 October 2018 and he was stuck there as he could not get his return visa to India,” Wang Jr said. “My father got the visa today. He will book a return ticket to India within a day or two,” Vishnu informed. “This time the authorities have given him a visa for a period of six months and, after that, he again has to go to Beijing to get a fresh visa,” he said.

Vishnu said his father had been awaiting visa renewal since April this year to return to his family in India. He said his father applied to the Indian embassy in China in April but there was no response for a long time. “I had been in communication with Indian officials both in India and China,” he said.

The Chinese soldier was captured by Indian forces in 1963 after he lost his way back to China following the India-China war. Convicted for spying, he remained in Indian jails for six years. He settled in Tirodi village in Balaghat where he worked in a flour mill before starting a grocery shop. In 1974, he married an Indian woman, Sushila, and had four children — two sons and two daughters. “My elder brother and my mother died and I and my two sisters live in Tirodi. We are anxiously awaiting his return to Tirodi,” Vishnu said.

Vishnu, who works as an accountant with a private firm, said earlier his father used to get a visa, valid for a year, within a fortnight from the date of application. After the India-China war, the former Chinese soldier was spotted in Assam by the Indian Red Cross Society and handed over to the Indian Army on 1 January 1963.

Vishnu said his father then spent six years in prisons in Assam, Ajmer and Delhi before the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered his release in March 1969. “The Indian government had promised the court that it would rehabilitate my father. He was taken to Delhi, Bhopal, Jabalpur and then finally handed over to Balaghat police,” Vishnu said.

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