A video has gone viral on social media with a narrative that Chinese officials are shooting people infected with Corona Virus. The video has four different visuals, starting with a group of police officers wielding guns walking into a locality. In the next visual, you can hear gunshots fired at a distance while a woman is having a conversation with an official. In the last visual, an ambulance can be seen near a woman whimpering over a person’s corpse. Wounds are visible on the stomach of the man. The video is being shared on WhatsApp and a multitude of posts carrying the video can be found on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well. The narrative accompanying this video suggests that the people were shot dead by officials because they were infected with COVID-19 (Corona Virus). However, when we checked the video, we found that the video is actually a mixture of four different videos totally unrelated to novel Corona Virus. Let us check what the facts of these videos.
A Youtube channel called “Facts-N-Myths” published the video with the caption “#Chinese police shooting to kill people sick with #coronavirus that refuse to be evacuated. Cremation followed the public execution!”
This video was shared on Facebook with the Sinhalese caption: “චීනයේ කොරෝනා වසංගතය ඉතාමත් භයානක තත්වයකට පත්වී ඇත..දැඩිව ආසාදිත වූ රෝගීන්ට වෙඩි තබන videoවක් සමාජ ජාලා වල සංසරණය වෙමින් පවතී..” English translation “China’s coronavirus has become extremely dangerous. A video of severely infected patients being shot is getting shared on social networks”
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The video had mixed reactions with few condemning Chinese decision of pubic execution, whereas a number of users questioned the authenticity of this video, considering the history of fake videos, which has emerged over last few weeks related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
After several inspections of the 56-second viral video, we were able to identify that at least 4 different footages, which had been used to edit this video as below
Clip 1: 3 Personnel loading and checking firearms near a Police vehicle (0 – 15 seconds)
Clip 2: Same 3 personnel walking through what appears to be an apartment complex (16 to 21 seconds)
Clip 3 : Medics attending to a person lying on the floor with sounds similar to gunshots in the background ( 22 to 34 seconds)
Clip 4 : Person lying on the pavement of a road and sounds similar to gunshots. An ambulance and Police vehicle is also seen (34 to end of video)
Analysis of Section 1 (Clip 1 and 2)
Both first and second clips appear to have been shot from the same location (top of building) and just before switching to the second clip (15th second) we noticed the letters (POLICE, 警察) inscribed on the vehicle indicating that it belongs to Chinese police force.
Therefore, we checked for any official report from Chinese Police related to such an incident and found a report from the CCGN (China Global Television Network). As per the report, the real incident happened on first of February in a city called Yiwu City (G1796 car seen in the video belongs to the police bureau of Yiwu) in east China’s Zhejiang Province (almost 700 kilometers away from Wuhan).
The detailed description as below.
“At 11:37 a.m. on February 1, Yiwu Police received a report from civilians asking for help to handle a ravenous dog, which had been hurting people in Futian neighborhood.
The bureau dispatched three armed policemen with protective gear, including for protection against the novel coronavirus, to the site.
The policemen shot the dog after evaluating the danger it imposed on humans. The video circulating online pieced together different clips including the part of police armed with guns with other irrelevant footage, and it was edited with malicious intent, the police stressed.”
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Analysis of Section 2 – Clip 3
We noticed sound similar to gunshot sounds on both 3rd and 4th clips. However the crowd seem undeterred to these sounds and were seen busy attending to the patients. We came across a longer and clearer version of the same video uploaded by a Chinese Twitter user on 26th of January with a statement “Many rural people in Wuhan are unable to visit the hospitals and eventually die in their houses! These deaths are certainly not counted in the official pneumonia deaths! In the background is a firework burst to celebrate the New Year, and they die desperately innocent!”
Below is the comparison of the portion of the Twitter video against the same of the viral video. Upon comparison of these footage it’s clear that this is indeed a scene where medical staff are attending to the patients and not a scene of gun violence.
Furthermore, we did a sound level comparison of the two clips and noticed that the sound levels of the viral clip had been enhanced to portray the effects of gunshot sound, where as in reality the sounds are heard from a distance and actually match with the description posted by the Twitter post of fireworks for News Year celebrations. The video was posted on 26th of January on Twitter and this year Chinese New Year fell on the 25th of January.
Analysis of Section 3 – Clip 4
Furthermore in the report published by CGTN about the viral video we noticed a video analysis of the incident shown in clip 4. CGTN team had visited the location where the incident seen in the 4th clip had taken place.
In this video named “Hubei shooting video proved to be fake” , and the article “How a motorcycle crash turned into an online rumor” CGTN explains how a motorcycle accident on 29th of January in Wuzu Town in Hubei (3 hours from Wuhan) had been misinterpreted in the viral video.
As per these reports the 15 year old boy (seen in the yellow jacket) riding with his cousin had lost control of the bike and rammed into the cement curb. The Wuzu Hospital staff were at the scene immediately with ambulances, visible in the clip yet were unable to save the teenager’s life. Below is the report published by CGTN:
Several other factcheckers such as Boom in India and France24Observer in France have debunked this video earlier.
Hence, from our investigation it is clear that the viral video post with the claims that Chinese police were shooting people infected with Coronavirus in Wuhan is very misinterpreted. The video comprises of three different unrelated events all of which have actually occurred during last 3 weeks in China. These unrelated visuals are merged together and shared with a misleading narrative.
Title:Doctored video used to claim Chinese government is shooting down people infected with Corona Virus.Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe