An investigation report by the Australian newspaper ‘The Klaxon’ has revealed that around 38 Chinese soldiers were killed in the bloody clashes with the Indian soldiers in 2020. This comes as a great shock to people in China since the Beijing government had reported just four deaths in the fierce dogfight in the high-altitude Galwan Valley. Now President Xi Jinping’s government will have to face a public backlash though this kind of behaviour from the Chinese government is not unusual. In the past, Chinese authorities have often been found to be downplaying the number of casualties whenever the country is struck with disasters or accidents or resorted to suppression of its people. Many even doubted China’s declared number of Covid-19 casualties. The communist government in Beijing is often blamed for blocking communication and silencing critics and whistle-blowers in order to withhold sensitive information that its citizens have every right to know.
The world had first encountered the Chinese way of hiding information when China witnessed mass deaths during the Great Leap Forward and the Great Famine. Around 45 million Chinese people were starved or beaten to death — thrice the number killed in the Holocaust. This was much higher than the official statistics, which were not more than 20 million. The Tiananmen Square massacre is the most taboo subject in communist-ruled Chinese history. Thousands of peaceful protesters, who were pressing for dialogue with the communist leaders for democracy, were killed ruthlessly by the military in June 1989. Beijing government called the protest “counter-revolutionary rebellion” and had mobilised 200,000 troops with hundreds of tanks in the capital. After the massacre, the Beijing government announced that 241 had died in the crackdown- and none at Tiananmen Square. However, the coverage by foreign correspondents and photographs suggested the death toll was much higher. A doctor at the time reported 500 deaths while a radio news announcer put the death toll at 1,000.  A secret British diplomatic cable claimed that over 10,000 Chinese citizens were killed.
The greatest tragedy of modern China however is not discussed in the country. The successive communist governments managed to erase the records and history associated with the brutal Tiananmen Square massacre. Many people in China were found to be not aware of the famous ‘Tankman’, who had boldly confronted a convoy of tanks as they entered Tiananmen Square. Beijing government has taken all possible steps to expurgate all mentions of the massacre as school children are not taught about it, books containing related information are banned, there are no memorials, and information about bloody military suppression of the protest movement on the internet is blocked or deleted.
Chinese authorities are blamed for hiding the actual number of people who died in the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the Covid-19 originated in China and created havoc, forcing Beijing to impose heavy lockdowns, the official number of deaths has been just 4,636 in the country with a population of 1.6 billion. Beijing took measures to silence whistleblowers doctors, media persons and censored information in order to prevent people from knowing the failure of Chinese authorities in containing the virus and ensuring timely intervention. Experts alleged that the actual Covid-19 deaths in China are 17,000 per cent than those quoted by officialsTh. e allegations were supported by the number of patients admitted, the number of people cremated, and the decline in the Chinese government’s medical aid. China even refused to share key data with World Health Organisation (WHO).
China had charged a whistleblower doctor for warning people of a mysterious virus much before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The doctor died later, which angered people in China. They criticised the Beijing government for hiding the information and killing the messenger. “It seems that the Communist Party’s main goal of its censorship and restrictive policies are to prevent Chinese citizens from speaking out against the government and its monopolistic power,” reads a report by researcher Caitlin Feeney on Chinese censorship. The latest revelation of the death of not four but 38 soldiers in the Galwan valley has been quite shocking for Chines people as the Beijing government kept the deaths of so many of their soldiers hidden. It is also embarrassing for them in the wake of Qi Fabao, who was a part of the clash in Galwan valley, having been declared as one of the torch-bearers for the Winter Olympics. It has now come to light that Chinese agencies removed any information about the casualties from the Galwan valley from news websites and social media. The recent development indicates that the communist government in Beijing has kept up with its old practice of hiding crucial information from its own people.