A video footage of Indian soldiers allegedly smashing the windows of Dongfeng military trucks after the India-China clash in Galwan Valley drew immense criticism from netizens in mainland China. Although the Indian Army has continued to deny the video's links with the border standoff, reports in China have raised doubts over the quality of the armoured vehicles, with many now calling these ultra military utility vehicles 'hollow'.
There is speculation that the Chinese Dongfeng failed to protect the lives of Chinese soldiers in Galwan that resulted in heavy casualties. However, Beijing still hasn't disclosed the number of its soldiers killed in Ladakh during the June 15 clash. The Dongfeng Humvee is a copy of the Hummer but a legal one and is built by the Dongfeng Motor Group owned by the Chinese state.
Dongfeng Trucks Overhyped?
A video clip that went viral last month shows Indian soldiers smashing the windows of a Dongfeng military truck that is claimed to have been captured during the Galwan Valley clash. The Indian army had confirmed earlier that the video has no link with the India-China border standoff as it emerged sometime in May, but netizens in China have since been slamming the manufacturer of the high-profile war vehicle.
In fact, there are now reports coming in from China that the country's top manufacturer of military vehicles may have cheated the government. China boasts some of the best military vehicles in the world but the body armor of the Dongfeng Humvee vehicles are being criticized for being penetrable.
One of the many critics of the Dongfeng military trucks has been a Chinese netizen Zhou Liying who on August 3, claimed on his social network handle that following the Galwan valley clash, around 500 such "poor-quality" vehicles were returned to the manufacturers by the Chinese Army.
The post went viral but Liying had to face the music after Dongfeng Motor Corporation filed a police complaint against him. Liying was arrested the next day and was made to apologize. The Chinese military has now published an apology from Liying, a letter allegedly signed by him claiming that his post was a lie.
However, the damage was done by that time. In spite of the apology, the vehicles have been lambasted for being inferior in quality, with one publication claiming that the Dongfeng Motor Group is facing disciplinary action for allegedly violating "Party discipline". Another website, Sohu.com, has claimed that not one but two officials of the manufacturing company have been roped in for anti-corruptions investigations.
Exposing China's Corruption
A Hong Kong tabloid, Apple, tried to draw a clearer connection between the standoff and the Humvees, saying that Dongfeng may have used poor quality steel to make those vehicles and one of the commentators in article said that claims around the faulty vehicles is believable. The article resulted in the arrest of the owner of Apple under the sedition law. A new question now being asked is if he is being punished for exposing China's military corruption.
The Dongfeng Humvee is a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and is available in two variants, one with four wheels (4×4), weighing 6,100 kilograms, and the other with six wheels (6×6), weighing 8,000 kilograms. The vehicles reportedly played a key role during the June 15 India-China clash in Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, as both sides fought for hours with rods and clubs, with as many as 20 Indian soldiers losing their lives.
It is alleged that Indian soldiers captured one Humvee and later smashed it with rods, thus raising questions on the vehicle's strength and ability to withstand heavy attack. The truth is always obscure in China and although this time the details are sketchy, Dongfeng has faced corruption charges earlier too. In 2015, a general manager of Dongfeng was under investigation for "severe violation of discipline".