Several news channels including Times Now, Aaj Tak, and India Today shared old visuals to make claims around the number of Chinese PLA soldiers killed in the Galwan Valley clash that took place between the troops of China and India on 15 June.
While the Indian side stated that the clash led to the loss of 20 Indian soldiers, the Chinese government has not released the official number of casualties yet.
Anchor Rohit Sardana claimed that news channel Aaj Tak had accessed “exclusive” footage of the graves of “40 PLA soldiers” who were killed in the 15 June clash. The bulletin showed an aerial view of a cemetery in which several graves could be seen.
While Aaj Tak claimed to show visuals of graves of “40 PLA soldiers,” Times Now, went a step ahead and claimed that the pictures aired by the channel show 106 PLA tomb stones and “reveal extent of Chinese casualties in June 15 Galwan clash [sic].”
Meanwhile, India Today ran visuals of a cemetery and satellite imagery to show number of graves present in Kangxiwa cemetery. The anchor said that the images show the “proof of China’s massive Galwan casualties.”
A set of images with similar claims was circulated by various Twitter users.
WHAT WE FOUND
One of the images in circulation shows that the cemetery has graves of soldiers who died in 1962.
When the front most grave was translated using Google translate app, it read: “Tomb of Zhao Shangquan, murdered in 1962.”
The Quint has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the image.
An aerial view of the cemetery was aired on India Today channel claiming that it has 105 graves. Colonel Vinayak Bhat (R), defence expert, in the broadcast said there were 105 graves till as late as December 2019. He further said that due to lack of satellite imagery, it was difficult to comment on how many new additions have been made but “certainly there have been casualties.”
Fact-checking website Alt News traced the original coordinates of the infograph using Google Earth and found that it was from 2011.
The photo, indeed, shows 105 graves with 43 on left and 62 on right. Even India Today, in its 29 August article had used the same imagery and said that it was from 2011.
IMAGE FROM KANGXIWA DATES BACK TO 2011
Another viral image could be identified to be from the Kangxiwa cemetery of the Chinese military and could be traced back to 2011.
One can see that the left side of the cemetery has 43 graves with the last row having one grave.
Journalist Aadil Brar shared a set of images of the said cemetery in which the left one is from August and the right one is from April.
ADDITIONAL GRAVE ON THE LEFT SIDE
In the April image, one can see that the last row on the left has two graves instead of one, as seen in the 2011 photo.
Regarding, the number of the graves on the right, we could count 63 graves in total.
LEFT HAS 44, RIGHT SIDE HAS 64 GRAVES AS OF AUGUST
We found that the video aired by Aaj Tak was uploaded on Chinese website Bilibili on 24 August. In this visual, too, the last row on the left has two graves instead of one as seen in the 2011 image. Because of which, the total number of graves on the left comes out to be 44.
Now regarding the graves on the right, we noticed that there was an additional grave as compared to the April picture, bringing the total to 64.
Now, if we add the left number of graves and the right number, the total comes out to 44+64= 108.
108 GRAVES AS OF APRIL: CHINESE MILITARY
As per an article uploaded on the website of Chinese Defence Ministry in April 2020, the Kangxiwa cemetery has graves of 108 martyrs.
“After nearly a year of searching for relatives, among the 108 martyrs buried in the Kangxiwa Martyrs Cemetery, 59 relatives of the martyrs have been found,” Yang Baomin said, reads the article.
The 108 number was also mentioned in the video that was uploaded on 24 August.
Further, Alt News found that another picture telecasted by India Today, claiming that it shows China’s Galwan casualties, could be traced back to December 2019.
A Chinese website zhihu.com (similar to Quora) had uploaded the image in December last year. The date, at the end of the article, is mentioned to be 15 December 2019.
It is pertinent to note that there is another image which is doing the round and is claimed to be that of a grave of a PLA soldier who died in the Galwan clash in June.
When translated the text using Google Translate, we found that it reads: “Soldier of troop 69316, born in Pingnan, Fujian in 2001, and was sacrificed during the border defence struggle against India in June 2020."
However, The Quint hasn’t been able to independently verify the authenticity of the image.
Evidently, news channels aired old visuals with some dating back to 2011, while others could be traced back to 2019, claiming to show the graves of Chinese PLA soldiers who were killed in the Galwan Valley on 15 June.
(This story was first debunked by Alt News.)
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