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Blogger arrested for humiliating military heroes

Chinese (foreground) and Indian (R, background) soldiers in the incident in which troops from the two countries clashed

Police in China have arrested a blogger for commenting on Chinese soldiers who died in a Himalayan border clash with Indian troops last year.

The 38-year-old had “maliciously distorted the truth” about the conflict, authorities said.

He is among at least seven people detained by China for their allegedly inappropriate comments about the incident.

The incident, which took place last June, was the first deadly clash in the disputed border area in 45 years.

A Chinese law passed in 2018 prohibits people from “slandering heroes and martyrs.”

However, a person can only be criminally charged for this offense under an amendment to Chinese criminal law, which will come into effect next month, according to a column in the China Daily.

This would allow those charged under this law to be jailed for up to three years.

“Yes [Qiu] committed the offense ten days later, he would be the first person punished by this law. It’s a shame, ”said a columnist for the China Daily.

‘Slanderous hero’

According to a statement released by the Nanjing Public Security Bureau, the man – identified only by his surname Qiu – was arrested on February 19.

The 38-year-old blogger had 2.5 million subscribers on Weibo, according to local reports. The BBC could not verify this as his account has since been deleted.

The microblogging site Weibo announced last week that Mr. Qiu’s account had been banned for a year.

The man has since confessed “illegal behavior to attract the attention of Internet users, distorting the facts about Weibo and slandering and humiliating the heroes defending the border.”

Blogger arrested for humiliating military heroes

A view of the memorial service office at the home of Xiao Siyuan, one of four PLA soldiers killed in last year’s border clash

He has since been detained on “quarreling and causing trouble” – a charge commonly used against critics. The same charge was used against a handful of other people who were also arrested for their remarks on the same incident – exactly what they said was not disclosed.

China revealed earlier last week for the first time that four of its soldiers had died in a clash with Indian troops in the Galwan Valley in India’s Ladakh region.

Previously, India said 20 of its troops were killed in last year’s clash, while Beijing acknowledged the victims but did not disclose details.

Chinese military newspaper PLA Daily called the Chinese soldiers “heroic” who gave their “youth, blood and even their lives” to the region – Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran. They all received posthumous awards.

India and China have been locked in a border dispute for decades. The root cause of the tension is an ill-defined, contested 3,440 km (2,100 mile) boundary called the Line of Real Control.

Rivers, lakes and snow-capped peaks along the border mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face in many places, sparking a showdown. The two countries, however, have a long-standing agreement not to use firearms or explosives along the border.

In January this year, the two armies also clashed along the border in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, resulting in injuries on both sides.

But India and China have since agreed to “disengage” from the border and are now withdrawing troops from parts of it.

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