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FACT CHECK: Video does not show Chinese invasion of Taiwan


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FACT CHECK: Video does not show Chinese invasion of Taiwan
The YouTube video uses unrelated footage of supposed Chinese soldiers to falsely claim that China has started invading the island, which Beijing claims as its territory

Claim: Chinese special forces have started invading Taiwan.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in an August 1 YouTube video that currently has 4,255 views and 89 likes as of writing. It was posted by a channel that has been fact-checked by Rappler multiple times for using misleading video clips of military activities.

The bottom line: China has not started its invasion of Taiwan. The video does not show any proof to support its claim. Instead, it shows unrelated clips of what appears to be a military drill. Superimposed text also implies that the soldiers shown in the video are Chinese Special Forces who have begun occupying Taiwan, although no identifying insignia can be seen.

There are also no official reports from the government of China or Taiwan to support this false claim. 

Chinese military activity around Taiwan: The misleading video was uploaded just days after Taiwan reported recent Chinese military activity in the vicinity of the island, which China claims as its territory.

On August 9, Taiwan’s defense ministry said 10 Chinese air force aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone, accompanying Chinese warships in “combat readiness” patrols. This comes after Taiwan also reported similar Chinese military drills on August 6 around the Taiwan Strait, which is considered an unofficial barrier between the two sides. 

In April, China began conducting large-scale military exercises around Taiwan as a show of force after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. At one point, up to 71 Chinese aircraft and nine vessels were spotted around Taiwan.

Despite the growing tensions and China’s joint precision strikes and blockade simulations, analysts say an imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely. In a TIME article, foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer pointed out that Beijing “always flexes military muscle when highest-level US and Taiwanese officials meet face to face.” 

Nevertheless, Philippine defense chief Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said last July that Manila is closely monitoring the situation between China and Taiwan and is preparing for possible contingencies.

Previous false claims: Rappler has previously fact-checked other claims of supposed invasions and military attacks: 

 – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo 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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