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FACT CHECK: No reports of Taiwan attacking Chinese fishing vessels


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FACT CHECK: No reports of Taiwan attacking Chinese fishing vessels
While Taiwan has been intercepting Chinese vessels to mitigate illegal fishing, it has not fired water cannons, contrary to a video’s claim

Claim: Taiwan fired water cannons and nearly destroyed Chinese fishing vessels recently caught operating in its waters.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The YouTube video with the claim was posted on November 13 by a prominent Filipino channel with 328,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 14,857 views and 443 likes. 

In the video, the narrator claims: “Ilang mga Chinese fishing vessel ang tila baga halos mawasak dahil sa pagbobomba ng water cannons ng Taiwan sa kanila.

(Several Chinese fishing vessels were nearly destroyed because Taiwan fired water cannons at them.) 

The bottom line: Taiwan has been intercepting Chinese fishing vessels operating within its maritime borders, but it has not used water cannons. 

Video inconsistency: The YouTube video is an inconsistent amalgamation of conflicting reports. The title and description of the video both claim, “Binomba ng South Korean Coast Guard ang mga illegal Chinese fishing vessel” (South Korean Coast Guard bombed illegal Chinese fishing vessels), but the rest of the video claims that it was Taiwan that conducted the supposed attack.

After mentioning it in the introduction, the narrator does not go into detail about the supposed attack. Instead, the video discusses a Taiwan News report on illegal Chinese fishing within Taiwan’s borders; there is no mention of any attacks in the video or the report.

The article only says that to address the illegal incursions, Taiwan has “utilized radar technology, surveillance, and Coast Guard patrols to strengthen the monitoring of its borders.”

Unverified claims: There are no reputable sources substantiating the claim of recent water cannon attacks by Taiwan against Chinese fishing boats. In fact, the latest news report involving Chinese fishing boats in Taiwan’s waters was from October. According to the article, the Taiwanese coast guard intercepted 652 Chinese vessels from January to September 2023 for illegally fishing and mining sand.

China-Taiwan relations: China claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its territory. Taiwan has reported regular Chinese military patrols and drills near the island, with the latest involving nine Chinese aircraft crossing the Taiwan Strait and warships carrying out “combat readiness patrols” on November 19. 

Pervasive misinformation: False claims about attacks on Chinese vessels have been circulating amid Beijing’s aggressive militant tactics in disputed waters.  Rappler has debunked many of these false claims:

– 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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