Unhappy with life on LAC, Chinese soldier crosses over, sent back
Posted: Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010 at 0251 hrs New Delhi
To keep alive Beijing’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh, troopers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are known to make intrusions into Tawang. So this January 14, when a Chinese trooper was spotted trying to cross over, Indian troops forgot all about the morning chill and went on high alert.
But Cheng Hong Sheng of the 52 Border Defence Force of the PLA, after crossing over from Wondong to the Indian side in the Tawang sector at 8.03 am on January 14, complained he was not being treated well by the PLA. Before he stepped across, he threw away his service rifle.
Son of Tao Hua from Xiamen in Fujian province, Cheng made an unusual request to the Indians. He wanted to be sent back to China, preferably to Shanghai or Beijing, as he was tired of training with the PLA for four years at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
At first, the Indians thought Cheng would give them details of the Chinese strength and positions across the LAC. But the mood changed when he gave fixed answers to all questions. There was even suspicion that he could be part of a Chinese gameplan to learn about Indian troop positions.
Official sources said New Delhi was alerted about Cheng immediately. That the Chinese soldier had dropped his weapon was evident because PLA troopers were seen searching the area on their side of the LAC. Delhi was also told about Cheng’s request for a passage to China.
After intense debate, the Indian Army called a flag meeting on January 15 and handed over Cheng to the Chinese at BumLa at 10.30 am. He was carrying a mobile charger, battery and notes on the first aid the Indians gave him.
Sources said the PLA seemed more than happy to have recovered their wayward soldier. Last heard, Cheng’s intrusion across the LAC was classified as a “soldier having lost his way.”