No, This Is Not a Funeral Photo of Chinese Soldiers 'Killed' in Tawang Clash

The photo is over a decade old and shows a memorial service held for firefighters in China's Sichuan province.

3 min read
No, This Is Not a Funeral Photo of Chinese Soldiers 'Killed' in Tawang Clash

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A photo showing several coffins draped in a red cloth that resembles the Chinese flag is being shared on social media with a claim that it shows the funeral photos of the Chinese soldiers 'killed' in the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Tawang Sector, Arunachal Pradesh, on 9 December.

The coffins also show pictures of the said PLA soldiers.

An archive of this tweet can be seen here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(Archives of more claims on social media can be seen here and here.)

What is the truth?: The photo dates back to December 2010 and shows a memorial service for people who lost their lives fighting a grassland fire in Daofu Country in China's Sichuan Province.

Moreover, China issued a statement saying that the situation is "stable," as per news agency AFP. The country has not officially declared any deaths due to the clash.


How did we find out?: We ran a reverse image search on the photograph.

On TinEye, one search result led us to a photo story by China News. The translated version showed that the story was about 15 firefighters who lost their lives fighting a grassland fire in Sichuan.

This photo story was published on 7 December 2010.

The article was published in 2010.

(Source: ChinaNews/Alteredby The Quint)

  • It mentioned that the coffins were kept in a mourning hall in Kangding Gymnasium for people to mourn and pay their respects.

The government's note regarding the fire: We also came across a release by the Chinese government dated 9 December 2010, which mentioned four departments of the People's Liberation Army (the Chinese military) having jointly sent telegrams to the deceased's families to express their condolences.

The Chinese government issued a release.

(Source: Government of China/Alteredby The Quint)

  • According to this release, those killed belonged to an independent battalion of the Ganzi military sub-district during the Daofu firefighting and relief mission.

  • It mentioned that the fire broke out on 5 December, and 15 officers and soldiers rushed to the spot and died fighting the fire.

News reports corroborate events: We also came across several news reports regarding the fire in Daofu.

  • According to an article by Reuters, at least 22 people had died in the fire that broke out in Daofu County in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Ganzi in China's Sichuan province on 5 December.

  • Of these 22 killed, 15 were soldiers, two were reported to be workers with the grassland's administration while five were local residents, reported South China Morning Post. Three people were said to be severely burned.


Conclusion: The photo is not related to the recent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector. It shows a memorial service which was held for 15 people who were killed fighting a grassland fire in December 2010 in China's Sichuan province.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Indian Army   Tawang   Webqoof 

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