Chinese man speaks to brother for first time in 50 years after becoming trapped in India

‘I couldn’t recognise him. He looked so old. He said he was alive just for me’

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 31 January 2017 17:26
Wang Qi
Wang Qi

A Chinese who has been unable to leave India after accidentally crossing into the country in 1963 has spoken to his brother for the first time in more than 50 years.

Wang Qi was a surveyor in the Chinese army when he entered India by mistake, the BBC reports.

It was not long after the Sino-Indian war that had broken out in 1962 when Mr Wang became lost near the border and crossed into India. He found a Red Cross van and asked them for help, but was turned over to the Indian authorities and imprisoned for seven years.

Now in his eighties, Mr Wang lives in the village of Tirodi in Madhya Pradesh, central India with his family.

During a visit from a BBC reporter, he has been able to speak to his brother in China via video message, after visiting a government building with internet access.

Mr Wang has not seen his 82-year-old brother Wang Zhiyuan for 54 years. The pair spoke for 17 minutes, after which Mr Wang said: “I couldn’t recognise him. He looked so old. He said he was alive just for me.”

Mr Wang, who is known in India as Raj Bahadur, has been trying to get permission to leave India and travel to China to see his three brothers and two sisters for decades, but has never been allowed to by the government.

In 2014 Mr Wang was issued with a Chinese passport, but he has yet to receive permission to travel to China.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times at the time, he said: “I have heard a lot about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj helping foreign nationals, stuck in India, return to their homeland. I pray with folded hands to the two leaders to help me also return to my siblings in China,” he said.

Mr Wang said he was his mother’s favourite, but he was unable to see her before she died in 2006. He was visited by a nephew in 2009, which raised his hopes again of being able to see his family, but three years ago, he said it was still a “pipedream”.

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