Qiu Ziming, who has 2.5 million followers on microblogging site Weibo, has been sentenced to eight months in jail after making “slanderous” comments about Chinese soldiers who died during a Himalayan border clash with Indian troops in 2020.
Qiu, who is 38-years-old, was found guilty of “slandering heroes and martyrs,” according to the BBC, adding that Chinese state newspaper, the Global Times, said that “he is the first to be criminally charged under the offense following an amendment to China’s criminal law.” Under this law, those found guilty “can be imprisoned for up to three years.”
“Internet celebrity sentenced to 8 months in jail for defaming martyrs,” reported The Global Times.
“Qiu, known as ‘Labixiaoqiu’ online, was also ordered to publicly apologize 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,” the report added.
The Global Times accused Qiu of releasing “false information” on Sina Weibo, “smearing the four heroes who were killed when dealing with the Indian military’s illegal trespassing of the Galwan Valley Line of Actual Control.”
In addition to his sentence, Qiu was ordered to apologize, appearing on state broadcaster CCTV.
“I feel extremely ashamed of myself, and I’m very sorry,” said Qiu, according to the state outlet. “My behavior was an annihilation of conscience.”
After “slandering” the Chinese soldiers, Qiu was detained and later confessed to “illegal behavior to gain the attention of netizens, distorting facts on Weibo and slandering and demeaning the heroes defending the border,” according to the BBC report. Qiu — who wasn’t the only blogger targeted by authorities for comments on the border clash between Chinese and Indian military in the Galwan Valley in mid-2020 — was also banned for one year on Weibo.
As The Daily Wire reported in June 2020, “Three Indian troops — an Army officer and two soldiers — were killed … by the soldiers from communist China amid an ongoing border dispute between the world’s two most populated nations, both of which are also nuclear powers.”
The incident occurred following a weeks-long stand-off between the two nations in the Galwan valley in western Himalayas, with both nations “accusing each other of trespassing into the other’s territory,” Reuters reported, while tensions in the region between the two countries have existed for decades.
Until February when they honored four soldiers, China refused to acknowledge that there had been any Chinese casualties. According to U.S. News & World Report at the time, Indian government officials claimed that 20 Indian soldiers had died in the fighting and that somewhere between 35 and 43 Chinese soldiers were also killed.
Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, was launched in 2009, and is one of the largest social media platforms in China, with more than 335 million monthly active users as of Q3 2018. Competitors, such as Twitter and Facebook, are blocked by the Chinese regime.
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