Galwan soldier as Olympic torchbearer: China dismisses India’s anger

China made light of India’s outrage at its decision to field a military officer involved in the Galwan Valley clash as a torchbearer for the ongoing Winter Olympics, saying not too much should be read into it politically.
Torch bearer Qi Fabao takes part in the torch relay for the 2022 Winter Olympics at an Olympics Park in Beijing. India won’t be sending its top diplomat in Beijing to the Winter Olympics after the honour of carrying the Olympic torch went to a Chinese soldier wounded in a deadly border clash between the countries two years ago. (AP)
Torch bearer Qi Fabao takes part in the torch relay for the 2022 Winter Olympics at an Olympics Park in Beijing. India won’t be sending its top diplomat in Beijing to the Winter Olympics after the honour of carrying the Olympic torch went to a Chinese soldier wounded in a deadly border clash between the countries two years ago. (AP)
Updated on Feb 07, 2022 07:26 PM IST
Copy Link
BySutirtho Patranobis I Edited by Amit Chanda

China on Monday made light of India’s outrage at its decision to field a military officer involved in the Galwan Valley clash as a torchbearer for the ongoing Winter Olympics, saying not too much should be read into it politically.

Look at the decision rationally and don’t read too much into it politically, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

India last week announced that its current top diplomat in China, charge d’affaires at the embassy in Beijing, Acquino Vimal, will skip both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games because Qi Fabao, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander involved in the June 15, 2020 clash with Indian troops in Galwan Valley, was chosen by China as one of the torchbearers ahead of the Games’ opening.

Qi, who sustained a serious head injury during the clashes, was among the 1,200 torchbearers at a torch relay in Beijing on Wednesday.

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

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

When asked to comment whether the decision was insensitive, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian played it down. “I want to stress that the torch bearers of the Beijing Winter Olympics are broadly representative and they meet relevant standards. We hope that the relevant sides can view this (the decision) in a rational and objective light,” Zhao said on Monday.

“What I want to say is we hope relevant sides can view the choice of the torch bearers in objective and rational light. And don’t read too much into it from (a) political perspective,” Zhao said.

That’s exactly how it is being read by the Indian government in the backdrop of the ongoing border tension with China in eastern Ladakh since early 2020, which has plunged bilateral ties to the worst in decades.

Media reports have pointed out that China has said that the ongoing Winter Olympics should be used as a bridge to build friendships and ties but by fielding Qi, Beijing has broken that very principle.

The decision to deploy Qi rankled New Delhi even more as it had come out in support of the Games - unlike several western governments that had announced diplomatic boycott of the sporting event - ahead of the Olympics.

India’s expressed support for China in hosting the Beijing Olympics during a meeting of foreign ministers under the framework of Russia-India-China trilateral.

“The ministers expressed their support to China to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games,” a joint communique issued after the meeting said on November 26.

The fielding of Qi as a torchbearer is part of the pattern of the Chinese government’s propaganda narrative.

China’s PLA has stepped up propaganda on the ongoing standoff with its western theatre command (WTC) - which oversees the disputed border with India - announcing on January 7 that it will offer stones from the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh to netizens on February 1.

It was the Chinese government’s latest effort to use the brutal clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the night of June 15 in Galwan Valley as propaganda to push through its narrative, painting India as the aggressor.

On January 1 this year, Chinese official media released a video showing Chinese PLA soldiers unfurling the country’s flag somewhere in the Galwan valley.

Last October, it had released another video showing hundreds of PLA soldiers from unit 7895 of the Xinjiang military command standing in rows and shouting military slogans on the rocky banks of a river, flowing through a ravine, between cliffs.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • French President Emmanuel Macron 

    On bid to cut oil prices, what Macron has been told by UAE, Saudi

    Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president. Read: France holds parliamentary election in vital test for Macron "And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said.

  • Police block the scene where a semitrailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.

    At least 40 migrants found dead in truck in US city: Report

    At least 40 people have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, news agencies reported citing law enforcement official briefed on the matter. San Antonio's KSAT television reported 42 people dead inside the truck, in a presumed migrant smuggling attempt in South Texas. San Antonio police is yet to make an official statement on the incident. Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet that the victims' nationalities were still unknown.

  • In many European countries, monkeypox cases are rising,

    More than 3,400 monkeypox cases reported to WHO globally: 5 things to know

    The World Health Organization has confirmed over 3,400 reported cases of monkeypox and one related death globally as of last Wednesday, with majority of them from Europe. In an update on Monday, the WHO said that 1,310 new cases were reported to the UN health agency since June 17, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases. 5 things to know about monkeypox: Monkeypox is a large DNA virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus family.

  • People watch as smoke bellows after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping mall, in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.

     G7 vows to keep pressure on Russia after missiles strike Ukraine shopping mall

    Russian missiles struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Moscow fought for control of a key eastern city and Western leaders promised to support Kyiv in the war "as long as it takes". More than 1,000 people were inside when two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in the city of Kremenchuk, southeast of Kyiv, Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram. He said the death count could rise.

  • File photo of former President Donald Trump.

    Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas

    The company planning to buy Donald Trump's new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York. The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, June 28, 2022