Morphed image shared by Shen Shiwei-These are certainly soldiers/actors from Pak army ranks

On Sunday (November 7), the Chinese State media posted manipulated pictures of the Galwan Valley clash that took place between the Indian forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on June 15 last year. The images, posted by a Chinese journalist, were morphed to suggest the complete surrender of the Indian army before a dominating Chinese side.

Shen Shiwei, the International News Editor of the China Global Television Network (CGTN), claimed in a tweet, “New pictures of last June’s Galwan clash emerged on social media, showing surrendered Indian soldiers captured by Chinese PLA.” He further added, “Indian soldiers violated newly-reached consensus and launched provocative attacks against Chinese personnel, leading to serious physical conflicts.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Shen Shiwei

Social media users debunk the narrative of Chinese information warfare machinery

Netizens were quick to bust the Chinese propaganda peddled through the micro-blogging site. A Twitter user (@Rahhul_Kumar_) pointed out several discrepancies in the images posted by Shen Shiwei. He underlined 6 points that clearly suggested that the image was digitally tampered with by the Chinese information warfare machinery.

“Just look at the Boot of that soldier(encircled) he is wearing some footwear and does not even look like what our soldiers wear. Not even a single INSAS is loaded. Jacket and pants are mismatching with the other soldiers… Almost each and every soldier is wearing a different kind of jacket…an actor/soldier can be seen wearing a sweater… just look at no 1 pointer. Does his hair, jacket seem like (that of) professional army soldiers. Note: read actor where it’s written soldier”

Another Twitter user pointed out that several so-called captured Indian soldiers have long hair, but actually, Indian army men are not allowed to keep long hair. “So nowadays Indian army soldiers are allowed to keep long hair? Better luck next time with propaganda,” he wrote.

Retired Major General Harsha Kakar also rubbished the images as ‘morphed’. He tweeted, “These are fake & morphed pictures. Indian soldiers do not have long hair. These are not soldiers but locals whom China has clicked attempting info warfare after it faced a crushing boot in Tawang. It is desperate to hide its 111 casualties in Galwan. Improve the quality of fake pictures.”

Another Twitter user inquired whether the Chinese forces ended up taking a year’s time to morph the images. “(Did) it take you one year to morph one photograph? That’s bad. Just to fix your post, Indian soldiers do not wear Salwar Kameez or have long hair. Try better next time. And yes, send my kind regards to Winnie the Pooh (a reference to Chinese Premier Xi Jinping),” the user concluded.

One Thomas Shelby took a jibe at the Pakistan army (often dubbed as salwar kameez army) and clarified that the Indian army personnel do not wear such attire. He had encircled a man in the image shared by Chinese media to highlight how that individual was wearing salwar Kameez.

The Galwan Valley Clash Between The Indian Army And The Chinese PLA

On the night of June 15th 2020, China had attacked Indian soldiers and unilaterally tried to change the status quo in Eastern Ladakh by attempting to intrude into Galwan valley in Ladakh. In the violent face-off where Indian soldiers managed to push the PLA soldiers back, 20 Indian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice and reportedly, China had lost 43 of their men. After the face-off, China had vociferously denied reports of casualties on their side and called it a misinformation campaign.

The fallen Indian soldiers were honoured by the government and their last rites were performed in the presence of government representatives and accorded them the due status of martyrs. PM Modi and the COAS had also visited to meet and speak to the injured soldiers. About 8 months later, China had posthumously awarded honorary titles to 4 of those PLA soldiers who had died during the attempted intrusion into India.