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How Many Chinese Soldiers Were Killed in Border Clash With India?

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Updated on July 3, 2020 3:32 am

India lost 20 soldiers in Galwan Valley in the Ladakh border clash, but the question remained about how many Chinese soldiers were killed in the violent border clash. The Chinese government did not disclose the number of casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army during the Galwan Valley clash, however, media reports show some details.

It was on June 16 that the ongoing border dispute between India and China turned into a violent confrontation. The Indian army reported the death of 20 soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.

It is to be noted that initial numbers were 1 Army colonel and 2 soldiers dead, which was revised to the figure of 20 soldiers killed based on the official Indian Army statement.

The news about Chinese soldiers causalities number mysteriously appears

When the reported number of deaths on the Indian side was 3, there was news of 4 to 5 Chinese soldiers killed circulating on twitter. As the Indian army sources revised the death toll to 20, immediately the news of “43 Chinese troops killed” in the face-off began doing the rounds.

This was tweeted by DD News which credited the information to “agency reports”. Interestingly, the tweet has since been deleted.

Tweet by DD News on Chinese Casualities

Almost all media houses in India were also reporting the same.

Social media influencers with verified accounts grabbed the news and started tweeting. This long list includes — Major Gaurav Arya, India TV anchors Rajat Sharma and Sushant Sinha, ABP News journalist Sumit Awasthi, NewsX anchor Shehzad Poonawalla — they all seemed to have jumped on the bandwagon.

A Twitter handle News Line IFE cited Gaurav Arya as the source and put out a tweet with the same claim. As quoted by fact-checking website Alt News Fact Check, News Line IFE was found to be the origin of the unverified claim that five Chinese soldiers were killed in the clashes.

A right-wing website, OpIndia, its editor Nupur Sharma and Twitter user The Skin Doctor also promoted the ‘news’ of 43 Chinese soldiers killed.

India Today anchor Rajdeep Sardesai wrote that ANI claimed based on “Chinese intercepts” that “43 Chinese soldiers [were] killed in the clashes”. He further wrote that there hasn’t been any confirmation from the Chinese side.

National Spokesperson of VHP Vijay Shankar Tiwari wrote, “43 चीनी सैनिक भी मारे गए (43 Chinese soldiers were also killed).”

Many however believed otherwise

Ajai Shukla Business Standard writer and a ret. colonel wrote on his twitter handle that the initial casualty count is higher, even when the Indian army had reported only 3 casualties. His claim was proved to be correct when the army revised its casualty number.

Further, he alleged that the government spin machine is giving out a Chinese casualty count of 43. The cynical political calculation clearly is: If we can claim we killed 43 Chinese, killing of 20 Indian soldiers will matter far less

Origin of all the claims about Chinese casualties

The claim was based on news agency ANI’s tweet which quoted “sources” and claimed that the Chinese have suffered 43 casualties, including the dead and injured.

ANI Tweets about Chinese casualities

Editor of ANI live services Ishaan Prakash quoted tweeted ANI and wrote, “First confirmation of numbers of injured/dead in the Chinese side”, which is the meaning of the word ‘casualties’.

Editor of ANI live services Ishaan Prakash quoted tweeted ANI

It is to be noted that ANI did not give an exact figure on the number of Chinese soldiers who died but wrote that the number “43” includes both killed and wounded.

What do the official figures state?

The Chinese government has not announced the number of casualties on their side. The Editor-in-Chief of China-based Global Times tweeted this earlier today. Moreover, no official figures on the Chinese casualties have been put out by the Indian army as well.

Sources in the Indian government are citing ‘some’ U.S. intelligence reports which claim that 35 Chinese soldiers were killed during the violent clash with the Indian army.

The figure, however, is a combination of the total number of soldiers killed and wounded.

Yet again such intelligence reports are impossible to verify when cited by government. No US publication has yet published any casualty number.

Defense journalist Shiv Aroor tweeted, “NO official word on Chinese casualty figures, all leaks/source stuff doing rounds.”

Deputy Editor at The Indian Express Sushant Singh then tweeted that there has been no official army statement on the number of Chinese casualties, “43 or 430 or whatever”.

Therefore, ANI’s tweet on alleged casualties on the Chinese side, both dead and injured, was misrepresented by many as “43 Chinese soldiers killed” in the skirmish.

Furthermore, neither the Chinese side nor any notable Indian defense journalist has confirmed the number of casualties in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

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