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.
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 granddaughter from Delhi-Beijing flight.
Wang later traveled 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 a 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 granddaughter Khanak Wang. His Indian wife Sushila and his daughter, however, have stayed back in India due to ill health, officials said. Wang was expected to go there on Sunday 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.
Wang was caught when he entered Indian territory shortly after the Sino-India war in 1962. He was later released from jail and settled in Tirodi village of Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh.
Before leaving for Beijing, Vishnu told media in India on Friday that “my father joined the Chinese Army in 1960 and he entered India through the eastern frontier after losing his way in the darkness one night.” He landed in Assam where an Indian Red Cross team handed him over to the Indian Army on January 1, 1963. “My father spent six years in prisons in Assam, Ajmer, Delhi before the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered his release in March 1969,” Vishnu said.
“The Indian government had promised to the court that it will rehabilitate my father. He was taken to Delhi, Bhopal, Jabalpur and then finally handed over to Balaghat police,” said his son.
Wang started working as a watchman with a mill and soon his colleagues named him Raj Bahadur, apparently due to his Nepali features, Vishnu said.
Wang’s mother died in 2006 but he could not be with his dear ones in the time of grief, Vishnu said. Three years later he met his nephew Yun Chun, who had come to India as a tourist and narrated his ordeal to him.
After returning home, Chun got in touch with Chinese politicians and authorities to bring his uncle home. Finally, he met then Chinese Foreign Minister who helped Wang to get a Chinese passport in March 2013.