A Chinese citizen has been arrested by the police for spreading “online rumours” claiming that poor quality of army vehicles and internal corruption caused the death of Chinese soldiers during the clash with Indian border troops.
A brief write-up on the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) English website said the suspect, identified as Zhou Liying, circulated “rumours” earlier this month claiming that the company “Dongfeng Off-road Vehicle Co” supplied poor-quality vehicles, causing the deaths of Chinese soldiers.
The write-up did not specify the date or place of the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers.
“Recently, a netizen surnamed Zhou was arrested by the police in accordance with the law, because he spread the rumours online by saying that “the poor quality of military vehicles supplied by the Dongfeng Off-road Vehicle Co., Ltd. (hereafter referred to as Dongfeng) has caused the death of Chinese soldiers during the China-India border clash,” the write-up published in eng.chinamil.com.cn said.
Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a brutal brawl at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15.
The Indian army lost 20 soldiers during the hand-to-hand clash but China is yet to reveal the number of casualties it suffered in the fight.
“On August 3, after learning via the Internet that online-user Zhou had posted rumours on his ‘WeChat moments’ by claiming that internal corruption of the Dongfeng Company had led to the poor quality of the its military vehicles, which resulted in the casualties of Chinese soldiers on the China-India border, the Dongfeng Company immediately reported to the local police and established a special working group to investigate and verify the case,” the website reported.
“At about 1800 on August 4, Zhou was arrested by local police. He confessed to his crime of rumour-mongering, showed remorse, and wrote a sincere apology letter.”
The website also published the confession letter written by Zhou in Chinese along with the story.
In the confession letter, Zhou wrote that he “fabricated” the story on the evening of August 2 after drinking.
Zhou wrote that he made up that poor quality of vehicles caused the death of Chinese soldiers and 500 vehicles of the Dongfeng company had to be recalled.
The social media update was then forwarded by friends and family, he wrote.
Zhou then “deeply” apologised to netizens and the Dongfeng company and said in the letter that he was “…willing to accept the treatment from relevant departments”.
“I hope that the majority of netizens can learn from me, (and) do not make rumours, do not believe rumours, do not spread rumours…,” he wrote.
“The Dongfeng company has been engaged in the R&D and manufacturing of high-mobility off-road vehicles for military operations for a long time, being considered as China’s top military vehicles manufacturer,” the write-up said.
The website eng.chinamil.com.cn is the only official English language military news website of PLA.
“Authorised by the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and sponsored by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) News Media Center, China Military Online is the only official English-language military news website of the Chinese Armed Forces and an important platform for building up the online international communication capacity of the Chinese military,” the website says.