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China says four of its soldiers died in Galwan clash

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They have been recognized by the country to defend national sovereignty.

China has for the first time recognized four soldiers who died in the June 15 clash in the Galwan Valley, breaking the silence on the number of casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Twenty Indian soldiers died in the clash, which marked the worst border violence since 1967.

The Daily PLA On Friday, said five Chinese border officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram Mountains have been recognized by China’s Central Military Commission for defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity, one of whom was injured.

Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong and Xiao Siyuan fought until the last minute and sacrificed their lives, according to the report and citing the Global Times. Wang Zhuoran, a fellow soldier, also gave his life to save his comrades by crossing the river to support others.

The Xinjiang PLA Military Command Regiment Commander Qi Fabao was also recognized and awarded the title of Commander of the Hero Regiment for defending the border. The report says he suffered a serious head injury. First class merit was awarded to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.

While suggesting the deaths of four soldiers, the report does not specify the total number of injuries suffered by the PLA, only mentioning the injuries of regimental commanders. The PLA likely suffered a much higher number of injuries, with Indian officials saying they counted around 60 Chinese soldiers carried on stretchers after the clash.

The Global Times noted that this is the first time that China has disclosed the casualties and details of these officers and soldiers.

Isolated calls were made on Chinese social media for them to recognize those lost in Galwan, but no major discussion of PLA victims, a sensitive topic that the Chinese state-controlled media has carefully avoided. In August, a photo posted to Chinese social media app WeChat showed the grave of an PLA soldier named Chen Xiangrong, but it has not been confirmed by authorities. It was among the names announced on Friday.

Sensitive problem

In June, a source close to the PLA told Hong Kong China Morning Post that Beijing was very sensitive to military losses, saying all figures had to be approved by President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission, before being released.

The PLA commendation also featured the Chinese account of the June 15 clash, which the Global Times noted did not refer to India but to a foreign army, a decision, he said, was to avoid inciting public sentiment in the context of the current disengagement of Chinese and Indian troops along the border areas.

The clash came during an attempt by both sides to verify an ongoing de-escalation process in the Galwan Valley, a site of tension since April 2020.

Since April 2020, the relevant foreign servicemen have violated the previous agreement that they crossed the border to build roads and bridges and intentionally instigated unrest, changing the status quo along the border, they even violently attacked them. Chinese soldiers sent for communication, according to the report. Faced with intrusions and provocations by the Indian military in May 2020, Chen Xiangrong and other Chinese soldiers retaliated and forced them to return. Faced with enemies who outnumbered us, none of us flinched. Amid their stone attacks, we chased them away, Chen wrote in his diary, according to the report.

The Daily PLA The report suggested that India had suffered more casualties. Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times, China has released details of the incident to refute earlier misinformation that China suffered more casualties than either India or China behind the incident.

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