Fact CheckSecurity

This video of an explosion did not happen in Beijing; no evidence found for claim of an alleged coup in China

Claim: Social media users are sharing a video of an explosion to back claims that there has been a coup d’etat in China

Although there is no evidence yet to back the claim of a coup in China, we have found that the video of the explosion has existed online since 2015. 

Full Text

Rumours are rife about a coup in China that has led to the removal of Xi Jinping as President. According to these reports, Xi Jinping, who has led the Asian country since 2012, has been placed on house arrest with a senior official of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, General Li Qiaoming, set to be announced as the new president.

These speculations about the coup are fueled by posts on social media

DUBAWA observed that some users had shared a video of an explosion and claimed that it was footage coming from China’s capital, Beijing, during the purported coup against Xi Jinping.

Some of these posts can be found here, here, here, and here.

We found the video of the explosion has existed online since 2015.

Verification

In August 2015, massive explosions hit a warehouse in the port of Tianjin in Northern China, killing at least 173 people and leaving hundreds of people injured.

The blast, which has been described as one of the deadliest accidents in Chinese history, is estimated to have caused more than $1 billion in economic losses.

DUBAWA has observed that videos from the incident are not so different from what social media users have circulated online to back their claims of a coup in China.

We found that the scenes in the viral video was the same in a video uploaded on YouTube in January 2017 (from minutes 2:19 to 3:07). The video was titled “2015 Tianjin explosions.”

We also found an August 2015 video published on YouTube by BBC News from the Tianjin explosions. The BBC News’ video has similar scenes as the ones in the viral video. 

Evidently, the said explosion did not happen recently, nor did it happen in Beijing as proclaimed by the claimants.

Has there been a coup in China?

As of the time of filing this report, the Chinese Communist Party has not released any official statement to the effect that Xi Jinping has been ousted as President.

Again, recent online news publications by Xinhua News Agency, which is the official state news agency of China, describes Xi Jinping as President.

Conclusion

We found no evidence to authenticate claims that a coup has happened in China. However, the viral video of the explosion has been online since 2015.

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