Chinese veteran stranded in India for 54 years on the way home

Source:China Military Editor:Zhang Tao 2017-02-10

Personnel from the Chinese embassy in India visits Wang Qi in India. (Photo/ Yuan Jirong)

NEW DELHI, INDIA, Feb. 10 (ChinaMil) -- The External Affairs Ministry of India recently gave notice to Wang Qi, a nearly 80-year-old Chinese veteran who has been stranded in India for 54 years, and his family to deal with their Indian passport formalities.

Wang Qi and his son planned to fly back to China on Feb 10, 2017. "The thing I missed most from my hometown is the handmade noodles," Wang said.

In 1963 after the Sino-Indian War, Wang Qi got lost in the woods and the Indian military caught and imprisoned him for seven years on the charge of "espionage". After he was released from prison, Wang was arranged to live in a remote area in India. There are several veterans from Wang’s division under the former PLA Lanzhou Military Area Command in 1963 are from China's Shaanxi Province. These veterans, aged 75 on average, gather together almost every year to recall their memorable years in the army.

Chen Qungeng, a 76-year-old Chinese veteran, used to serve in the same troop unit with Wang Qi. He recalled that their troop unit, stationed in Xining City, west China's Qinghai Province, was of a division level with several independent battalions under it. Wang Qi was in the No.2 Company of the Independent Engineer Battalion.

“The No.2 Company was also called the Road and Bridge Company because they were in charge of the bridge-building work during the march,” recalled Chen.

Chen remembered that the disappearance of soldier Wang Qi was a big event across the division at that time. They search all over the mountains, but it was in vain.

However, the Chinese embassy in India has been making unremitting efforts to help Wang Qi return to his hometown.

The Chinese embassy aired its opinion on the internet on Feb 1, 2017, saying that the embassy had been aware of this issue and maintained close contacts with Wang and his family, as well as competent departments of India.

The embassy showed sympathy for Wang’s sufferings and has always provided help. It is believed that under the joint efforts from both India and China, the issue will be brought to a satisfactory settlement on the precondition of showing respect for the wishes of Wang Qi, according to the embassy.

Reporter called the Chinese embassy in India on the afternoon of February 3 to get the latest information on the issue. The embassy staff said the statement made on February 1 was the latest announcement and currently they were coordinating.

The Pension and Preferential Treatment Office of the Department of Civil Affairs of China's Shaanxi Province said on February 3 that they have been noticing media coverage on this issue recently. The department said it will provide as much help as it can for the veteran.

A section chief surnamed Yang from the secretariat division of Bureau of Civil Affairs of Xianyang City in China's Shaanxi Province said they have arranged the proper departments to verify the information. If the information proves to be true after investigation, the bureau will grant pension and preferential treatment for Wang Qi based on national policies after his return to hometown.

Sun Chunlong, president of Shenzhen Longyue Charitable Foundation, told reporter on February 3 that the foundation convened a meeting that very day and decided the foundation will work to get Wang Qi back from India as soon as possible. All the costs will be covered by the foundation. The old man may return to his hometown as early as this spring.

Wang Qi was born in Xuezhainan Village, Xuelu Township, Qian County of Shaanxi Province. The village head said recently that they heard many years ago that Wang Qi was stranded in India.

If the Wang Qi comes back one day, the village will offer him the same treatment as the other villagers, and allot a homestead to ensure that the old man will live his remaining years comfortably in his hometown, added the village head.