After an Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed in action in a clash between the armies of the two countries along the Indo-Chinese border in Ladakh, some media outlets quoted the Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times to report that five soldiers of the Chinese PLA had died and 11 of its soldiers were injured in retaliatory action from India.
Global Times, however, tweeted that it had never shared any information about the casualties from the Chinese side using its official Twitter handle. The media house wrote in a tweet that even at this time, it could not confirm the number of Chinese soldiers killed or injured.
What is clear though, Chinese soldiers have died. The quibbling is over the number of Chinese soldiers dead. The Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese and English editions of Global Times Hi Xijin tweeted that the Chinese side had been harmed in this violent clash too, but their army or the government in Beijing has not given any details or casualty figures.
He tweeted, “Based on what I know, (the) Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.”
On Monday, while India complained of Chinese “incursion”, China called the clash in the Galvan Valley an “illegal activity” that was “provocative”. China’s Foreign Ministry said it had given a strong response to India against it.
On the other hand, the Indian Army first released a statement saying it had lost three men and then updated the statement to say three Chinese soldiers were dead too.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at the press conference today that China and India were negotiating border tensions through diplomatic and military channels, after military commander-level talks on 6 June. The two countries, he said, reached a consensus, but “in a case of severe violation of Monday, the Indian Army crossed the border twice for illegal activities and carried out provocative attacks against the Chinese Army.” He said that after this was followed by a serious violent clash between the soldiers of the two countries.
According to Zhao, China and India have agreed to resolve the issues through dialogue so that tensions in the border areas can be reduced and peace prevails.
Top military officials of both countries are trying to control the situation.
While media outlets like BBC reported an elaborate statement of Zhao, it appeared to lampooned the Indian media alone for excitedly quoting Global Times journalist Wang Wenwen who had said that five Chinese soldiers had been killed and 11 were injured. The fact is that even the British media trusted what Wang had said.
In fact, the media of BBC‘s country turned juvenile in excitement, branding the clash as “World War 3” (ref: adjoining image)!
Anyway, with the truth depending on his words, a cornered Wang deleted her tweet to wriggle out of the situation. She then claimed in a new tweet that she had received this information “from Indian sources”.
Wang wrote on Twitter that still, officially, China had not confirmed any casualties of any of its soldiers. She accused the Indian media of being unprofessional and said that she had presented it as the official statement from China, which is not right.
Indian journalist Praveen Swamy, meanwhile, pounced on the opportunity to get some space in Western media. BBC readily accommodated the tweet in its report.