20th Congress: Galwan Valley clash clip shown at key China meet opening

Updated on Oct 16, 2022 10:36 PM IST

The Congress was inaugurated by President Xi Jinping who read out a lengthy report, addressing the nearly 2,300 delegates and invitees at the opening

Indian army officer Capt Soiba Maningba Rangnamei of 16 Bihar Regiment during the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan valley, Ladakh in June 2020. (ANI)
Indian army officer Capt Soiba Maningba Rangnamei of 16 Bihar Regiment during the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan valley, Ladakh in June 2020. (ANI)

BEIJING: The Chinese military commander injured in the Galwan Valley clash with Indian troops in June, 2020 attended the opening of the Communist Party of China (CPC) 20th national congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday.

Qi Fabao was one of the 304 delegates from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police chosen to attend the all-important meeting of the party.

Watch: Galwan clash part of Xi Jinping's achievement video at CCP meet

The Congress was inaugurated by President Xi Jinping who read out a lengthy report, addressing the nearly 2,300 delegates and invitees at the opening.

A PLA regiment commander, Qi’s stature as a delegate to the national congress was further elevated on Sunday after footage was played at the Great Hall of People which showed him rushing towards Indian troops at Galwan Valley ahead of the violent clash between the border troops of the two countries on June 15, 2020.

The brief footage was part of a longer video showcasing the CPC’s achievements in various fields.

The particular footage, seemingly sourced from the PLA during the build-up to the clash, was widely shared on social media soon after the Galwan Valley incident.

On Sunday, it was played again on giant screens at the Great Auditorium - where big CPC meetings like the Congress takes place - as a precursor to Xi’s arrival and speech and as the delegates were walking in.

In his speech on Sunday, Xi said China will “intensify military training under combat conditions, laying emphasis on joint training, force-on-force training and high-tech training”.

He said China will become more “adept at deploying our military forces on a regular basis...This will enable us to shape our security posture, deter and manage crises and conflicts, and win local wars.”

Xi did not mention any particular country in reference to “local wars”.

Qi has been a core part of China’s anti-India narrative since his name was revealed as the officer injured in the clash in February, 2021.

He was honoured with the title of “Hero regimental commander for defending the border”.

In February this year, India announced a diplomatic boycott of both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing after Qi was chosen by China as one of the torchbearers ahead of the Games’ opening. Qi was among the 1,200 torchbearers at a torch relay for the Beijing Games. held in Beijing on Wednesday.

India lost 20 troops in the clash at Galwan Valley and four Chinese soldiers also died.

India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had then said it was regrettable that China had chosen to politicise an event like the Olympics.

Qi was chosen as a PLA delegate for the 20th CPC national congress from “25 electoral units” of the PLA and PAP.

Delegates to the Congress need to be “exemplary” members of the CPC and meet stringent criteria, according to the official news agency, Xinhua. “Political integrity is put first in the assessment. According to the party leadership, the candidates should first and foremost have solid ideals and convictions and high moral standards,” Xinhua reported earlier this year.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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