A Chinese internet celebrity who runs his account on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging application, with over 2.5 million followers, has been sentenced to 8 months of prison for defaming martyrs, on Monday. He was sentenced for his comments questioning the government’s account of the clash that took place last year between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley region.
The blogger who goes by the name of Qui Zinning or Labixiaoqiu, aged 38, became the first person to be sentenced to jail by the Chinese authorities under the new provision of China’s criminal law that bans the “defamation of martyrs and heroes”.
Global Times, which is a China state-affiliated media, China’s national English-language newspaper, reported that Mr. Qui has been sentenced to 8 months in prison for infringing on the reputation of heroes and martyrs and ordered to make a public apology. In Feb, he smeared martyrs killed in Galwan Valley border clash with India. According to the report Qui had suggested that the actual number of deaths that happened during the Galwan valley clash might be higher than the official count. Moreover, he also seemed to question the Chinese commanding officer’s survival as he was the “highest-ranking officer there”. It also said that he was detained a day after the post and his Weibo account was also suspended.
Qiu Ziming, or "Labixiaoqiu," an internet celebrity with 2.5 million followers, was sentenced to 8 months in prison for infringing on reputation of heroes and martyrs, and ordered to make a public apology. In Feb, he smeared martyrs killed in Galwan Valley border clash with India pic.twitter.com/WhO7jLEcJQ
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 31, 2021
The Nanjing police who arrested the blogger said that they detained him because he “maliciously distorted facts, slandered the five heroic soldiers who defended the country’s borders, and had an extremely bad social influence.” However, they got his confession within few hours of his arrest.
The court said that the sentence was not as severe as the maximum possible sentence of three years as he has confessed to his crime.
Qui Zinning was among the half a dozen people who have been arrested in February over their comments or posts over Galwan valley.
On March 1, Qui made an apology for spreading false information on the social media platform Weibo, which is the Twitter equivalent in China, smearing the heroes who were killed during the clash in the Galwan valley.
He wrote, “I feel extremely ashamed of myself, and I’m very sorry” My behaviour was the annihilation of conscience.”
On the evening of June 15, 2020, India and China engaged in a deadly clash in the Galwan valley in Ladakh which was one of the deadliest clashes in the past few decades. Nearly 20 Indian soldiers, including the commanding officer of an infantry battalion, martyred during this violent face-off. Both the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) suffered casualties during this severe hour face-off.
The clash erupted between the Indian and the Chinese military on May 5 following a violent clash at Pangong Lake and both sides eventually deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry even as both sides continued their diplomatic talks.
Countries like China have severely strict laws for people who speak ill of their army, or for those who spread misinformation about the military. Meanwhile, in India, people working in the governance, journalists, intellectuals, etc., ask for proofs from the military for the actions they claimed to have taken. The question is, does India also need strict laws to counter such people whose only motive is to spread lies, propaganda, and ill information about their military who serves them and protects them?
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