Unrelated Video Used to Claim 142 PLA Troops Died in Past 6 Months
The video could be traced back to April 2020 and is being falsely used to portray the situation of last six months.
Several social media users have shared a video to claim that China lost as many as 142 PLA soldiers in clashes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the last six months.
While we cannot confirm the number of fatalities, the video that is being shared could be traced back to April 2020 and could perhaps have been shot earlier than that, and hence, does not support the claim with which it is being shared.
Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh's journalist Vivek Bajpai shared the video and claimed that 142 PLA soldiers died in clashes along the LAC in the last six months. He attributed this information to reports on Chinese social media.
The video shared by him had been viewed 2,500 times at the time of publishing this article.
The video found its widespread presence on Twitter and Facebook with the same claim.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Replying to one of the tweets, a user shared the longer version of the video in question.
We found the same video on Chinese website Bilibili that had uploaded the video on 6 April 2020. The Bilibili webpage, when translated in English, mentions that the said video is from Kangxiwa cemetery in China.
In another fact-check article, The Quint’s WebQoof team had found an image of the Kangxiwa cemetery and traced it back to 2011. We compared the 2011 image with the now viral video to establish whether it’s the same cemetery.
We found several similar features in both the cases that confirmed that the April video (now viral) is of the Kangxiwa cemetery.
Further, we also compared the visuals seen in the viral video to Kangxiwa cemetery’s image seen on Google Earth with the year stamp as 2011.
Even in this case, we could find similar features to ascertain that the April video is of Kangxiwa cemetery.
Now, the claim along with the viral video mentions that 142 PLA soldiers were killed in the last six months, which would mean that these are the graves of PLA soldiers from March to September.
However, the fact that it was uploaded in April itself (6 April to be precise) means that that this video cannot show the situation of the remaining five months.
MULTIPLE ARTICLES SUGGEST THAT THE NUMBER OF GRAVES IN KANGXIWA IS 108
Firstly, 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, when translated to English using Google Translate.
Third, an article published on a Chinese website that attributed the source of information to newspaper China Youth Daily, mentioned, "Kangxiwa, meaning "a place with mines" in Uyghur language, is the highest-altitude cemetery for martyrs in the entire army, where 108 revolutionary soldiers were buried."
HOW MANY GRAVES DOES THE VIRAL VIDEO SHOW?
The Kangxiwa cemetery can be divided into two halves: left side and the right side. We could find that the left side has as many as 44 graves and the right side adds up to nearly 64 graves. If we add 44+64, that will be 108.
Since the viral video has been taken from multiple angles, the number of graves on the right side of the cemetery may vary slightly, however, the number definitely does not add up to 142.
It is pertinent to note that the Chinese government has not yet revealed the number of PLA soldiers that died in the several clashes that took place between India and China, hence we cannot confirm whether the 142 number is accurate or not.
However, the video that is being used to claim the same could be traced back to April at least, thereby confirming that it cannot be used to portray the number of deaths of PLA soldiers in the last six months ie March-September.
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