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FACT CHECK: No missiles fired by China at PH ships near Scarborough Shoal


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FACT CHECK: No missiles fired by China at PH ships near Scarborough Shoal
The misleading video splices together footage from various news reports unrelated to the ongoing maritime tensions between the Philippines and China

Claim: Chinese ships fired missiles at Philippine vessels near Scarborough Shoal, which China calls Huangyan Island. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in a video uploaded on November 14 by the YouTube channel “RE FILES.” As of writing, the video has 35,431 views, 575 likes, and 95 comments. 

The video’s narrator claims that China fired missiles at the Philippine vessels supposedly trespassing in the waters of the disputed shoal. The video does not state when the supposed attack took place.

The facts: There are no news reports or statements from the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, nor Philippine Navy confirming the alleged attack. 

The most recent incident in the disputed shoal was in October when China claimed that a Philippine frigate “trespassed into the waters” off Scarborough Shoal, known in the Philippines as Bajo de Masinloc. However, there was no reported missile attack related to the incident.

The video was posted amid China’s continued maritime aggression in defiance of a 2016 arbitral ruling striking down its claims over the entire South China Sea. Earlier this month, China again deployed water cannons and attempted to block Philippine vessels heading to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. (READ: 5 versus 11: PH makes it past China’s blocking tactics and into Ayungin Shoal)

Unrelated videos: The misleading video used segments of footage taken from other sources unrelated to the claim:

  • The clip at the 0:26 to 0:32 timestamp resembles the portion of a video (0:31 to 0:38) titled, “Irán, Rusia y China: la nueva alianza” (Iran, Russia, and China: the new alliance). It was uploaded on March 19 on the official YouTube channel of Canal 26, a news television channel based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 
  • The portions from 0:32 to 0:35, 0:35 to 0:37, and 0:37 to 0:38, respectively, resemble the portions of a video from 0:32 to 0:35, 0:41 to 0:42, and 0:40 to 0:41. The source video is titled, “Colombian Navy test fired SSM 700K Haeseong anti-ship missile from FS 1500 Almirante Padilla” and was uploaded in August 2019 on the verified YouTube channel DefenseWebTV.
  • The 1:01 to 1:03 clip resembles the portion of a 2018 video (3:17 to 3:19) from the US Department of Defense’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website. The video is titled, “Air, Land, Sea Strikes Sink Decommissioned Ex-USS Racine during RIMPAC.” 

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has fact-checked false claims of supposed attacks between Philippine and Chinese forces:

– Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com 

Percival Bueser 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. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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