State Media Claims China Hiding Casualties to ‘Avoid Stoking Public Mood’

A senior propagandist for the Communist Party of China on Tuesday claimed that Beijing is hiding its casualties from Monday night’s hand-to-hand battle with Indian forces over a disputed border to avoid enraging the public. India has reported at least 20 fatalities so far.

The editor of China’s state-run Global Times, Hu Xijin, claimed on Twitter that China is keeping its casualty figures quiet to “avoid stoking public mood”:

Hu then did his part to calm the turbulent international waters by claiming India only had so many casualties because their army is filled with bumbling incompetents, and will find itself beaten to a pulp if it provokes mighty China’s wrath again:

A more obvious reason why China would keep its casualty figures secret is that it views the grisly scoreboard as embarrassing. According to various Indian media sources, at least 40 Chinese troops were killed in the battle with rocks and staves that claimed 20 Indian casualties. That would be an inconvenient detail for China’s aggressive “Wolf Warrior” propaganda, which portrays Chinese soldiers as peace-loving but smarter, tougher, and braver than any other military force in the world.

China blamed India for the border clash, claiming Indian troops crossed the border – formally known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – and launched “provocative attacks” against Chinese forces, leading to “severe clashes” and unspecified casualties. The Chinese asserted that they own the entire Galwan Valley where the battle occurred, a claim India vigorously denies. India complains that Chinese forces have been trying to move the LAC by establishing positions beyond the contested border.

Indian air and ground forces across the region are on high alert, and the Indian Navy has been instructed to raise its alert level in the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy has been making aggressive patrols.

The Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministries held a phone conference to “cool down” tensions on Wednesday, resulting in no firm agreements, but a sense of guarded optimism among both participants and observers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unapologetic on Wednesday, declaring his country is “proud that our soldiers died fighting the Chinese” and warning India “wants peace,” but is “capable of giving a fitting reply” when provoked.

Chinese dictator Xi Jinping has yet to make a public statement on the matter at press time.

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