Amid India, China border standoff at LAC in Ladakh, ‘misleading videos’ from social media make news

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Amid the border standoff between India and China at Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, “misleading content” is being widely shared on social media from both the countries, London based news organisation BBC reported.

The report while reacting to a video showing Chinese armed forces personnel being sent to the border “crying”, it said that video shared by Twitter users was picked up in September by Taiwanese media outlets and then went viral in India, where users were mocking the Chinese armed forces personnel for crying because – it’s claimed – they were being sent to the border to fight with the Indian army.

The video was even picked up by Indian media outlets like the Zee News TV channel, after being viewed more than 3,00,000 times.

The recruits are seen on a minibus, singing a popular Mandarin-language military song that centres on being homesick. The red-and-yellow sashes worn by the armed forces personnel bear the slogan, “Join the military with honour.”

“But there’s no evidence we have found that they are being sent to the border with India,” the report mentioned.

Chinese media outlets; however, say that the armed forces personnel are new army recruits from Yingzhou district in Fuyang city, Anhui province, and were “emotional after bidding farewell to family members”.

“A local news outlet posted on the Chinese messaging app, WeChat, on 15 September, that the armed forces personnel were on their way to a military barracks, and mentioned that five of them volunteered to serve in the Tibet region.” the report added.

According to the report, on September 22, Beijing based news organisation Global Times picked up the story. It accused the Taiwanese media of “lying” for linking the picture of the new recruits “tearfully bidding farewell to their parents” with the China-India border situation.

Later, another video appeared on social media showing Indian armed forces personnel dancing to music from Chinese loudspeakers.

On September 16, there were reports from both the sides that China’s People’s Liberation Army is installing loudspeakers along the border and playing Punjabi music to “distract” Indian armed forces personnel.

According to reports, loudspeakers were put up by the Chinese army in an area that is allegedly under round-the-clock surveillance by Indian armed forces personnel.

“Both the Indian and Chinese media picked up this story quoting army sources, but there were no images or videos shared in these reports and the Indian army has not confirmed this happened. Nevertheless, social media users from India have been sharing old videos of Indian soldiers dancing to Punjabi music, which we found pre-date any reports of loudspeakers along the border,” the BBC report said.

In one viral video shared in September, five armed forces personnel are seen dancing to a Punjabi music number. It’s had more than 88,000 views and the user claims it shows the India-China border in Ladakh.

However, a reverse-image search shows the video goes back to July this year.

“And although the exact location of the video is difficult to establish, news reports from the time suggest it was from the India-Pakistan border and not the India-China border as claimed.” the report added.

In another video, it is being claimed that China’s speaker playing very loud music has injured Indian armed forces personnel.

In this regard, the report said that this is a variation on the previous claim about loudspeakers, with a Chinese Twitter user sharing a video of a “large device which they say is used to blast extremely loud music at Indian encampments”, making some Indian armed forces personnel “sick and injuring them.”

The video has been viewed more than 2,00,000 times and even featured on an Indian news channel with the same claim.

“The viral clip is actually from a March 2016 YouTube video of a Chinese-made mobile warning siren, produced by a firm that makes emergency safety equipment.” the report said.

It shows a large, 4.6-tonne rotating siren used for situations such as natural disasters or other emergencies for the civilian population, according to the product description on the firm’s website.

“It’s not a loudspeaker for playing music, and it’s not clear if this warning siren is even being used by the Chinese army on the border.

In addition, there have been no confirmed reports of eardrum injuries to Indian armed forces personnel in this area.” the report added.

One more video showing a bus accident involving Indian armed forces personnel and linking the visuals to Indo-China border tensions, the report has termed the viral video misleading as no such thing happened in the border area.

A Twitter user from China posted a video on 21 September, claiming India can’t meet China halfway on border talks because “it has to save its troops from killing themselves”.

The video showed part of a submerged military bus in a river with armed forces personnel standing nearby, and the text refers to what it calls the Indian army’s “lethal suicide attempts in Ladakh”. The video has been viewed nearly 5,000 times.

“It is a genuine video, but it is not from the India-China border. It’s from the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, where a bus full of Indian armed forces personnel fell into a flooded river in Bijapur district in September.


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