Blogger arraigned over posts on military casualties

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Chinese authorities have arraigned Qiu Ziming, a popular Chinese blogger with millions of followers, for posts on military casualties in the Galwan valley clash between China and India last June, reports said.
The South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that Chinese authorities accused 38-year-old Qiu of ‘demeaning military casualties’ of the border clash.
Prosecutors in the eastern city of Nanjing charged Qiu with “distorted facts, defaming five soldiers who defended the Chinese border, and leading to severely negative social impacts”.
Qiu’s comments came after China admitted for the first time that four of its soldiers had been killed and one seriously wounded during the clash that took place in the Himalayas, the report said.
The blogger is a former reporter with the weekly Economic Observer, with 2.5 million followers on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo.
He had published two controversial posts that suggested a commander survived the clashes because he was the highest-ranking officer there.
Qiu also suggested that more Chinese soldiers might have been killed in the conflict than those disclosed by the authorities.
Last month, the Chinese military ended its long silence over the issue, admitting that four soldiers had died in the conflict.
It gave the names of the deceased soldiers as Chen Hongjun, 33, Xiao Siyuan, 24, Wang Zhuoran, 24 and Chen Xiangrong, 18, adding that their commanding officer, Qi Fabao, 41, was badly wounded.
State media had also released footage of the clash showing Qi walking with open arms towards Indian troops and trying to stop them.
Meanwhile, a Russian news agency last month claimed that at least 45 Chinese soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clashes.
In a commentary last Saturday, Chinese news agency Xinhua accused Qiu of “damaging the reputation of heroes, hurting nationalistic feelings and poisoning patriotic hearts” with his sensational posts.
In the past few years, the government has attempted to muzzle critics by allegedly making them disappear without a trace.
It has also allegedly ordered people to physically barge into their houses, or locking up those close to critics as a kind of blackmail, the South China Morning Post reported.

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