Mixing sports with politics? Chinese soldier involved in Galwan clash becomes torchbearer at Winter Olympics

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Feb 03, 2022, 10:16 AM IST

Photograph:(WION Web Team)

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The soldier has been identified as Qi Fabao, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander

If the 2022 Winter Olympics wasn’t politicised enough over some countries refusing to send delegates to Beijing over human rights concerns, China seems to have taken a notch higher by selecting a PLA soldier, who was involved in the border clash with India, to become the torchbearer at Olympic Torch Relay on Wednesday. 

The soldier has been identified as Qi Fabao, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander. He was grievously wounded during the skirmish with India at Galwan Valley border, China’s Global Times reported.

According to reports, China’s four-time Olympic short track speed skating champion Wang Meng handed over the Olympics flame to Fabao after the relay opened at Winter Olympic Park.

The relay is scheduled between February 2 and 4—the date of the opening of the Games.

The torch will be carried through three host zones, starting with Beijing, then Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou city in the neighbouring Hebei province.

The standoff between India and China along the eastern Ladakh border erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in nearby Pangong Lake.

While the clash claimed 20 Indian soldiers, China refused to divulge their soldiers’ casualty numbers. However, the US intelligence agencies estimated the number to be over 40.

So far, 14 rounds of military talks and several diplomatic parleys have been held between New Delhi and Beijing, but the concerns are yet to be fully resolved along the Line of Actual Control.

(With inputs from agencies)