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Fact Check: Truth behind the viral video and image of Indian and Chinese soldiers clash

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The viral screenshot of a Global Times report with a headline "Chinese soldier helped Indian soldiers who got injured in avalanche" is photoshopped. Global Times has not published any such report. 

In the backdrop of ongoing Sino-Indian tension, an image and a video that on surfaced social media on May 31 purportedly of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh, has sparked a controversy. 

The video shows Chinese soldiers forcibly restrained by Indian soldiers while the image depicts a clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers, where a group of injured Injured soldiers is being restrained by Chinese soldiers. The video and the image have now become viral on social media. You can watch the video here:

A verified user named Ashok Swain shared the image on Twitter and wrote, "This what Chinese soldiers have done to Indian soldiers in Ladakh! Why is Modi silent? Why no demand by Indian media for surgical strike? Where is Mohan Bhagwat's RSS 'Army'?"

Following this, a number of social media users started sharing a screenshot of a news report by Global Times, according to which, the image shows some Chinese soldiers rescuing Indian soldiers who got injured in an avalanche that occurred in mid of May. The alleged Global Times is dated May 15, 2020, and has a headline that reads, "Chinese soldier helped indian soldiers who got injured in avalanche."

A Twitter user shared the screenshot of the alleged Global Times report along with Ashok Swain's tweet and wrote, "When A-holes like @ashoswai have so much hatred & afraid of Modi, that they will do anything to defame him & Indian army. They are not interested in Truth but in fabrication of lie into Truth so that they can fulfill their agenda."

Another Twitter page named Indo-Pacific news shared the same screenshots with the caption, "#India #China Border Conflict: In a Twitter war for the last 2 days, which started with a video of #Indian soldiers beating Chinese soldiers, #Chinese social media went big with the pic in the left, saying it showed beaten up Indian soldiers, but the truth is in the right pic."

An Instagram user also shared the same screenshots saying, "Fully Exposed, I feel pity for these intellectual fools. The name better be Swine."


The truth behind the screenshot of the Global Times' report

In our investigation, we found that Global Times has not published the report shown in the viral images, which means, the viral screenshot of the Global Times report is morphed. A keyword search on Global Times did not pop any such articles in the result. Google search didn't give any results either.

Also, we did not any information about the author of the viral report "Sang Feng Wei" or any other article written by the same person. There is also a silly grammatical mistake in the headline ('Indian' is starting with a small 'i') which makes it more evident that the alleged screenshot Global Times report is morphed. 

The truth behind the video

Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand told, "It has been brought to our notice that a video is doing the rounds in social media of an incident at the borders. The contents of the video being circulated are not authenticated. Attempt to link it with the situation on the northern borders is malafide". He further added, "Currently no violence is taking place. Differences are being addressed through interaction between military commanders, guided by established protocols on management of borders between the two countries. we strongly condemn attempts to sensationalise issues impacting national security. The media is requested not to air visuals that are likely to vitiate the current situation on the borders".

The Truth behind the viral picture

The image of injured Indian soldiers with legs of some of them tied with rope went viral when Twitter handle @OedoSoldier tweeted it around afternoon, which was picked up by @dafengcao and it went viral. The two handles have contents largely associated with the PLA, China, which led to suspicion.

It should be noted that China has its own local social media platform Weibo as Twitter is not open for the public there. Chinese nationals can use it only if they have special permission. The experts feel it is a leak with tacit approval from the government of China. So, a particular photograph reaching the Weibo first and then appearing on Twitter is part of the psychological warfare.

Indian Army has not issued any clarification on the picture. However, if we carefully analyze the picture, Chinese soldiers can be seen wearing masks which proves that the picture is a recent one.

One theory being propagated on social media claims that Indian Army soldiers slipped during avalanche breaking their legs and PLA(Chinese) soldiers helped them. Legs were tied to prevent further injury and permit movement. However, it is noticeable in the picture that only the legs of a few soldiers are tied while their hands are free. Had they been captured, Chinese soldiers would have tied their hands first.

However, it is true that an avalanche hit Northern Sikkim killing two soldiers, including a Lieutenant Colonel. Some of the soldiers were even missing and later evacuated safely by the army.

According to a Hindustan Times report, a confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops happened on May 9. The face-off was at Naku La. Four Indian and seven Chinese soldiers were injured in the confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers. It could be possible that the viral picture is either from the day of confrontation or during the rescue operation in the aftermath of Avalanche. However, there is no conclusive evidence to prove any of these theories.

In conclusion, the viral screenshot of a Global Times report with a headline "Chinese soldier helped Indian soldiers who got injured in an avalanche" is photoshopped. Global Times has not published any such report. 

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