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China internet celebrity gets 8 months in jail for ‘defaming’ Chinese soldiers killed in Galwan clash

Qiu Ziming, described by the state-run Global Times as an internet celebrity for having over 2.5 million followers, received an eight-month jail term on Monday.

By: PTI | Beijing |
Updated: June 2, 2021 10:06:31 am
Chinese troops dismantling their bunkers at Pangong Tso region, in Ladakh along the India-China border. (Photo: Indian Army/AP)

An internet celebrity in China was sentenced to eight months in jail for “defaming” Chinese soldiers killed in a clash with Indian troops at the Galwan Valley last year, official media here reported on Tuesday.

Qiu Ziming, described by the state-run Global Times as an internet celebrity for having over 2.5 million followers, received an eight-month jail term on Monday, the daily reported.

This was the first reported case of a suspect being charged after China passed a new law in 2018 which stipulates that it is illegal to defame the country’s heroes and martyrs.

Qiu, known as “Labixiaoqiu” online, was also ordered to publicly apologise through major domestic portals and the national media within 10 days to eliminate the negative impact, a court in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province ruled, according to the daily’s report.

The court held that Qiu had “truthfully confessed” to his crime, and entered a guilty plea stating that he would never commit the crime again. The sentence was therefore lighter, it said.

According to the daily’s report, on February 19 he released “false information” on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo, “smearing the four heroes” who were killed in clashes with the Indian soldiers.

While the Indian Army quickly announced that 20 of its personnel were killed in the clash with Chinese soldiers on June 15 last year, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army took some eight months to reveal that it had lost four of its military personnel and one officer was injured.

He was detained a day later for stirring up trouble that brought about a severe negative social impact. Qiu’s Weibo account was also suspended, the report said.

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