China’s official English television channel, CGTN, has uploaded a video on one of the four People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers who died fighting Indian troops in Galwan Valley in June 2020 on social media and its website to mark the armed forces’ founding day on August 1.
The focus of the video is Chen Hongjun, one of the four PLA troops killed in the brutal fight with Indian border personnel on the night of June 15, 2020.
Besides interviews of Chen’s family members including his wife, the video shows edited footage of the clash between the two armies, Chinese equipment on the banks of the fast-flowing river, soldiers, mostly Chinese, wading in knee-deep water, and personnel from the two sides charging at each other.
“To mark PLA Day, also known as Army Day, CGTN’s special series brings you Chen’s story,” the CGTN video said.
The video evidently pitched as a propaganda piece aimed at a domestic Chinese audience begins with a one-sided introduction to the Galwan Valley clash.
“Indian army violated the bilateral consensus and crossed the Line of Actual Control on June 15, 2020,” it says – a claim repeatedly dismissed by India.
It then adds, “Chen Hongjun of the Chinese PLA plunged forward as a shield and rescued his comrade Qi Fabao. However, Chen sacrificed himself.”
It’s not clear how Chen was killed.
A snapshot of Chen’s life is then shown from photographs in a family album with a few lines about his PLA career.
Next, his tearful wife Xiao Qianwen is interviewed, who says in Chinese, “I didn’t expect this to happen… I thought he would be back at the end of the year and see our son.”
Xiao then goes on to say she loves him and will look after their child.
Chen, 30, was the commander of a motorized infantry battalion under a PLA border defence regiment.
The other three who died were Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan, and Wang Zhuoran, according to details released by the Chinese government in February this year, several months after the clash.
Last June, Chen has presented the highest honour of the Communist Party of China (CPC) – the July 1 Medal – to mark the 100 years of the ruling party by President Xi Jinping, who is general secretary of the CPC.
Following the release of the details of the four soldiers who were killed and one who was injured in the clash, the Chinese government had given a free hand to its netizens to post videos and photos related to the incident.
Videos of the deadly clash were shared across Chinese online platforms including Weibo, WeChat, and the local version of TikTok, Douyin, over the following days.
Chinese online users also took to Twitter – banned in China – to share videos of the clash that portrayed Indian soldiers in a negative light.