A number of soldiers sustained injuries in the December 9 clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector. Against this backdrop, a photo of a row of flower adorned coffins inside a tent is making the rounds on social media. A photo is displayed at the top of each coffin. It is being claimed that the coffins belong to Chinese soldiers who were killed during the December 9 face-off.

Twitter handle ‘Defence360’ shared the photo, claiming that 20 Chinese soldiers were killed during the December 9 clash between Indian and Chinese personnel in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. (Archived link)

User Ankit Shah, who describes himself as an observer of foreign policy and security, promoted the photo linking it to Tawang. (Archived link)

Fact Check

Alt News performed a reverse image search and found another version of the image in a December 10, 2010 article by Chinese portal ‘Sina’. According to the article, 15 soldiers were killed on December 7 of the same year when a fire broke out in the forests of China’s Sichuan province. Furthermore, their coffins were taken to Kangding where a public condolence meeting was held inside a hall at the Kangding Gymnasium.

(Note: The article seen in the screenshot below has been translated from Chinese to English.)

We also found a report dated December 10, 2010 on the India Today website. The report cited Xinhua, China’s official news agency, and stated that 22 people were killed in a wildfire in the Sichuan province of China. Of the 22 killed, 15 were Chinese soldiers.

To sum it up, several social media users falsely shared a 12-year-old picture of coffins of Chinese soldiers who were killed in a forest fire linking it to the recent skirmish between Indian and Chinese forces in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).