Maoist politician Neupane makes misleading claims about Korean war 

Maoist leader Lekhnath Neupane. Photo from his Facebook account.

Lekhnath Neupane, a central committee member of CPN-Maoist Centre, posted a status (screen grab) in Nepali on Facebook on July 1, 2022. It stated:

“Mao Anying, Mao’s eldest son, was among the 500,000 Chinese volunteers who went to Korea to help the Korean people. More than 30,000 Chinese volunteers were killed in the US invasion of Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). Mao Anying was killed on November 25, 1950. 

Mao told his daughter-in-law that his son had been martyred. At the time, she was raising a baby (Mao’s grandson). Mao’s daughter-in-law said, “I want to see the face of my dead husband for the last time.” Mao told her: “Your husband is among 30,000 Chinese soldiers who have been killed in Korea. We should bring the bodies of all of them to China. But that is not possible. Therefore, we can’t bring the body of our son alone. If we only bring the body of our son and leave the rest of the bodies, the families of those martyred in Korea will never trust our party, movement and leadership. Mao’s daughter-in-law, who had lost her husband, was convinced because she was also a warrior. 

That’s why Mao became who he is today. They are still following in his footsteps. Even today, all Chinese respect him from the heart (not to flatter them). Every day, 65,000 young Chinese visit Mao’s birthplace and childhood home in Shaoshan village home (now a museum). And they proudly call him their Great Leader.” 

Journalist Tirtha Koirala as well as many political activists have shared the same status on Facebook. Digital media including Nepal Khabar have even  published reports based on Neupane’s Facebook status. 

What was the context? 

Neupane’s Facebook post came after Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the Maoist chairman, unveiled a statue of his late son Prakash Dahal in Kakani on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The statue was unveiled on the occasion of the birthday of the junior Dahal, who died of a heart attack on November 19, 2017. 

Nepal Mountaineering Association had built the statue in honor of Dahal, who climbed Mt. Everest in May 2012, according to news reports. But the inauguration came under fire on social media. Neupane, a former chief of the student wing of the Maoist party, posted the status on Facebook comparing Prachanda’s move to unveil his son’s statue with Mao’s behavior after his son’s death. 

We have fact-checked two claims made by Neupane on his Facebook status. 

Neupane’s claim that Mao Anying, the son of Chinese leader Mao, was a Chinese volunteer and went to help the Korean people is misleading. 

North and South Korea fought the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. The Soviet Union and China supported North Korea and the US-led United Nations Command formed under UN Security Council Resolution 84 backed South Korea. (The People’s Republic of China was not a member of the UN Security Council at the time. The Soviet Union, which was a member of the Security Council, boycotted the 84th UN Security Council meeting.) 

China sent the People’s Volunteer Army to support North Korea in its war against the South. Mao’s son had also joined the army. In his Facebook post, Neupane hasn’t included the word “army” and used only “volunteer”, which is misleading. Neupane’s claim that Mao’s son “went to support the Korean people” is half-true, because “Korean” refers to both North and South Korean people. The Chinese People’s Volunteer Army joined the North Korean military, not the Korean people. 

Neupane’s claim that more than 30,000 Chinese volunteers were killed in the US invasion of the Korean War is unconfirmed. Many credible sources put the death toll during the Korean War from 114,000 to 152,000. According to a journal article published on May 25, 2017, titled “The Chinese Forces and the Casualties in the Korean War: Facts and Statistics”, the number of Chinese troops killed in the Korean War has been estimated to be around 114,000 to 152,000. According to Xu Yan, a professor at the National Defense University in Beijing, the article is based on an archive of Chinese records. According to the article, China did not publish the exact number of casualties from the Korean War until the 1980s. 

Therefore, Neupane’s claims are misleading. 


History of the Korean War, published by United Nations Command

The Chinese Forces and Their Casualties in the Korean War: Facts and Statistics. Published online on May 25, 2017

The Time China Fought America to a Standstill, by Bertil Lintner, published on Asia Times on June 20, 2020