NEW DELHI: China is marking the third anniversary of the Galwan clash in eastern Ladakh in its time-honoured manner: portraying it as an achievement that young people should emulate. Meaning that they should be inspired to join the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and to that end, there is extensive use of film and video showing the PLA as a highly competent and well-armed force working hard to defend China’s territorial integrity.
But there’s a caveat here. Galwan is now old and may not resonate that well with young people, so the focus is on the Yangtze clash in Arunachal Pradesh. Yangtze, as is well known, is in Tawang, which China claims as its own.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter and the most browsed China Social Media Platform after WeChat there is a noticeable trend among young Chinese to post comments seeking reunification of Taiwan with the mainland. The censors attempt to quiet them in a number of ways since these are indirectly critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
While the Galwan Clash occurred three years ago, there have been recent efforts by “Little Pinks,”, a term is a term used to describe young jingoistic Chinese nationalists on the internet, trying to put a pro-China/anti-India spin to their propaganda. So, the Yangtze Clash is described as an unlawful intrusion by India across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The broader pitch is India is creating problems for China all along the LAC. The “Little Pinks” even use hashtags such as #SouthernTibet which is the term China uses to describe Arunachal. Such hashtags with the focus on reclaiming Southern Tibet garner around 10,000 reads daily and those numbers are increasing.
It helps build the narrative among Chinese netizens that India has illegally occupied Arunachal Pradesh, which actually belongs to China. Verified bloggers have also been roped in to influence young Chinese minds about Arunachal.
A recent social media post shared by a trusted supporter of the Chinese Communist Party, suggests a list of ten books that provide insights into the historical background of Southern Tibet. For example, one of the recommended books, titled “Kissing Southern Tibet: Walking in Tawang, the hometown of Tsangyang Gyatso,” aims to inform Chinese internet users about the existing situation in Tawang.
There are also many posts where these Verified Chinese Handles are seen posting pictures describing the Arunachal Pradesh government as the “Puppet Government of Southern Tibet”. Another post:
A popular military blogger on Weibo named Ma Yuecheng with reportedly over seven million followers on Weibo, is known for his negative writing on India. In a post on June 7, he wrote:
Little Pinks are active on Weibo to keep Chinese Citizens away from foreign influence, but on Twitter they are active to show the world what China is up to and to basically deliver the Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece. This tweet by another Little Pink handle on Twitter:
After the Galwan Clash 2020, the LAC revised its standard operating procedures. The revised Rules of Engagement allow commanders stationed at LAC to grant soldiers “complete freedom of action” to deal with tactical-level circumstances. The commanders have the authority to utilize all available resources to deal with challenging circumstances, including the right to permit the use of guns.
The original version of this article was published on StratNewsGlobal.com on June 12, 2023, with the headline: CCP’s Southern Tibet Propaganda Takes Center Stage as Galwan Clash Anniversary Nears. A few updates have been made to the same.