Chinese soldier, who strayed to India, waited 54 years to be allowed to go home // Chinese Soldier, Who Accidentally Crossed Border Returns Home

NB: It is a matter of shame for us Indians that bureaucratic procedures prevented Wang Qi from returning home for over 5 decades. To force a harmless man to remain in homesickness and anxiety for 54 years is sheer cruelty. BBC Hindi is to be congratulated for reporting this matter and playing a role in Wang's return. I wish Wang Qi a happy homecoming and best wishes for the remaining years of his life and so also to his fellow villagers - DS
China has changed quite a bit in 54 years. In between, there was the Cultural Revolution, the economic revolution and a revolution in how people communicate. For Chinese Peoples Liberation Army surveyor Wang Qi, the five decades also meant the inevitable greying of years and hair. Maybe memories too. He was 23 when he strayed across the inhospitable and mostly disputed border between India and China, two countries that had once gone to war over it. On Saturday, at 77, Wang returned home. Along with family: Vishnu Wang, daughter Anita Wankhede, daughter-in-law Neha Wang and grandson Khanak Wang.

Online China erupted over Wang’s return. “Left home young and return old, the accent has not been changed but the hair has been gray. Welcome the veteran back home, and welcome him to watch the Yellow river and have a bowl of noodles,” said one user. India got both bricks and bouquet. “He is a surveying and mapping soldier. It’s humanitarian for Indian that do not kill him at once. It’s also reasonable that do not allow him to come back. Now after decades, they finally let him back,” said one user. “In 1963, Wang, a Chinese army surveyor, got lost, crossed the border and was captured by Indian authorities. He was moved from one jail to another for nearly seven years when he was finally released in 1969, police escorted him to the remote village of Tirodi in Madhya Pradesh and told him to start a life there. He married a local woman, and they had three children and grandchildren,” state-run China Daily said in a widely followed report. Last week, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang subtly indicated that Indian diplomacy and bureaucracy held up Wang’s return.

“In recent years, Chinese embassy to India had kept in close touch with Wang Qi and made relentless effort to help him return to China including pushing Indian side on exit and entry procedures for him,” Lu said. “In 2013, the Embassy issued a 10-year Chinese passport to him and provided living allowance for him every year since then. I believe that with the joint efforts of China and India, and respecting the will of Wang Qi himself, the case will be properly solved,” he said.

The China Daily report said that on February 4, Luo Zhaohui, China’s ambassador to India, spoke by telephone with Wang and expressed sympathy over his suffering over the years. “Yan Xiaoce, a counselor at the Chinese embassy in India, visited Wang’s village on the same day,” the report said.
“Liu Shurong, another Chinese veteran, underwent the same plight as Wang and lives in the same village. But Liu said he had no intention to return to China because he no longer has family there”, the embassy told China Daily. Wang is eager to taste noodles, a local specialty in Shaanxi, after arriving home. Yes, the bowl of noodles is warm and waiting.

BEJING -- A Chinese soldier, who was stuck in India for over 50 years after crossing the border following the 1962 war, on Saturday returned to China with his Indian family members to a rousing reception and an emotional reunion with his kin. Wang Qi, 77, was received by his close Chinese relatives, besides officials of the China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indian Embassy when he arrived here along with his son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter from Delhi-Beijing flight.
Wang later travelled to Xian, the provincial capital of Shaanxi province, where he was given a rousing reception by his family members and officials.

Chaos and confusion prevailed at the Xian airport as large contingent of Chinese media gathered there to interview him. An emotional Wang broke down as he hugged his close Chinese relatives, whom he met for the first time after over five decades of separation. "Today is my happiest day in 54 years. Finally I have come back to this beautiful lovely country. Words cannot express how I feel now," he was quoted by the state-run CGTN as saying. "It is a beautiful experience. I love to thank everyone. In 54 years, I wrote so many reports to officials in India and now finally they agreed to let me return home," he said.

Away from home for so long, he returned home on Lantern Day, the most important festival in China, representing the reunion of families. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese new year.
Wang was accompanied by his son Vishnu Wang, 35, daughter-in-law Neha and grand daughter Khanak Wang. His Indian wife Shushila and daughter, however, have stayed back in India due to ill health, officials said. Banners 'welcome home soldier' greeted him at the airport.

After their brief stay at the Beijing airport, Wang and family accompanied by two Indian diplomats flew to Xian from where he was due to travel to his village Xue Zhai Nan Cun located about 100 km away. However, he along with family stayed put at a hotel in Xian as he was too tired to travel. Wang was expected to go there tomorrow and stay there for the next few days. 

The village has been decorated with banners and the local government said he would be allotted a house, if he stays back. His return was widely reported in the state media here. "He was not able to live comfortably as Indian authorities stopped his monthly pension. Wang has been denied Indian official document for citizenship. Nor he was allowed to travel back home," CGTN alleged, narrating Wang's ordeal. Indian officials say that they received positive feed back from the Chinese government and his family for facilitating his return. His return became a possibility after India and China worked out modalities for both Wang and his Indian family to travel together to China and later return as per their wish.

See also:
Glory Days, or remembering how Indians love(d) China

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