China denies burials for soldiers to cover up Galwan blunder: US intelligence assessment

NEW DELHIUpdated: Jul 14, 2020, 12:01 PM IST
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Pangong Tso Photograph:(Reuters)

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The bloody brawl between Chinese and Indian troops took place on June 15, in which, both sides suffered casualties. 

It appears that China is not willing to recognise the casualties it suffered in the Galwan valley clash as the government is pressurising the families of killed soldiers to not conduct burials and in-person funeral ceremonies, according to a US intelligence assessment.

The bloody brawl between Chinese and Indian troops took place on June 15, in which, both sides suffered casualties. India, without any hesitation, accepted that 20 of its soldiers were killed in the line of duty. They are being hailed as heroes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat on June 28, conveyed condolences to the families of Army personnel and said that the sacrifice of these families is "worth worshipping".

However, even after one month of the incident, China has still not disclosed how many of its soldiers were killed in the incident.

The grieving Chinese families who have lost their loved ones in the clash are being mistreated by the Chinese government, as per the report.

Not only the Chinese government refused to accept the casualties, it is also denying the burial of the soldiers.

According to the US intelligence assessment, China is not accepting that its soldiers have been killed in order to cover up the episode that Beijing appears to consider a blunder, reported the US News.

The violent face-off occurred after China attempted to unilaterally change the status quo during de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. India has said that the situation could have been avoided if the agreement at the higher level been followed by the Chinese side.

American intelligence believes that 35 of the Chinese soldiers were killed in the showdown.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has told families of those who died that they must forgo traditional burial ceremonies and cremate the soldiers' remains and that any funeral services should be conducted remotely, not in person, a source familiar with the assessment told US News.

The government has cited the spread of coronavirus as the reason, however, the assessment concludes that the new rules are a part of a deliberate effort by Beijing to undermine public awareness and erase any enduring reminders of the violent clash.

This decision of the Chinese Communist Party has upset Chinese families who lost their loved ones in the incident, US-based Breitbart News had reported. According to Breitbart, the Chinese government is struggling to silence the families of soldiers who are using Weibo and other platforms to vent their anger and frustration.

China reportedly fears that images of gravestones of its killed soldiers could further stoke those sentiments if spread on Chinese or international social media.

"The reality is they don't want to create martyr soldiers," says the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive material. "So they have banned functions where friends and families can pay their respects for the PLA deceased."