Fact checks about countries

FACT CHECK: The Indonesian navy did not attack Chinese vessels on March 10, 2023


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FACT CHECK:  The Indonesian navy did not attack Chinese vessels on March 10, 2023
A compilation of old footage and military stock videos were sewn together to create the false narrative of Indonesia attacking Chinese ships

Claim: According to a YouTube video uploaded on March 14, 2023, the Indonesian navy fired shots at Chinese vessels illegally fishing in the country.

The title of the video says “INDONESIAN NAVY PINAPUTUKAN ANG BARKO NG CHINA NA ILIGAL NA NANGINGISDA SA KANILANG KATUBIGAN!” (Indonesian navy fires at illegal Chinese fishing vessels in their waters!)

In the description of the video, it is further claimed that the Indonesian Navy attacked illegal Chinese vessels on the morning of March 10, 2023.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video was posted by a channel with 685,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 16,529 views.

Unrelated clips: The entire YouTube video is a collection of old, unrelated video clips manipulated to mislead viewers into thinking that a naval conflict was ongoing between Indonesia and China.

For example, performing a reverse image search on one of the sunken boats shown in the video will reveal that the vessel in question is actually an illegal Patagonian toothfish poaching ship called the Viking. The Viking, which is not a Chinese vessel, was sunk by the Indonesian government in 2016 as part of the country’s efforts to stop illegal Patagonian toothfish poaching in their waters.

Conducting a reverse image search on another boat shown in the video will lead to a 2015 Indonesian news report explaining the Indonesian government’s policies on sinking illegal poaching vessels. This is, however, unrelated to the purported 2023 conflict between Indonesia and China.

No substance: Searching for related keywords online will reveal that no other reputable institutions or news agencies have reported an armed and active naval conflict between Indonesia and China in 2023. 

The last reported instance of an Indonesian naval vessel firing at a Chinese ship was on June 17, 2016, when ships from Indonesia fired at fishing boats bearing Chinese flags near the Natuna Islands in the contested waters of the South China Sea. Miguel Batallones/Rappler.com

Miguel Batallones is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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