China jails popular blogger over India border clash death toll query
- Qiu Ziming found guilty of demeaning ‘heroes and martyrs’ after questioning official Chinese statement about the bloody Himalayan confrontation
- Former journalist ordered to apologise publicly within 10 days from judgment to eliminate the influence of his remarks: state media
He was sentenced to eight months in prison for “infringing on the reputation of heroes and martyrs”, and ordered to make a public apology, according to a report on Tuesday in People’s Daily, a Chinese state-controlled tabloid.
The comments came after the Chinese military broke months of silence on the matter to say that four Chinese soldiers were killed and one was seriously wounded in the clash in the disputed Himalayas border last year. China also released a clip of the clash, showing Qi walking towards Indian troops with open arms and trying to stop them from further advancing towards the Chinese troops’ side.
The Jianye District People’s Court in Nanjing held a hearing for Qiu’s case on Monday, People’s Daily reported.
“The court … announced the judgment that Qiu committed the crime of infringing on the reputation and honour of heroic martyrs and was sentenced to eight months in prison,” it said.
“Qiu was ordered [by the court] to apologise publicly through major domestic portals and national media within 10 days from the effective date of the judgment, so as to eliminate the influence [of his remarks].”
After the authority identified the dead and wounded soldiers in February, there was an online wave of tributes and poems for the soldiers.
China passed a law in 2018 that criminalises the act of insulting or slandering “heroes and martyrs”. Under an amendment to the law that came into effect in March, anyone found guilty faces up to three years in prison.
Qiu confessed his crimes and pleaded guilty after being arrested, and said in court that he would never do it again, according to the People’s Daily report.