Digitally altered screenshot used to show Xi Jinping congratulated Rahul Gandhi

By: Vivek J
January 17 2024

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Digitally altered screenshot used to show Xi Jinping congratulated Rahul Gandhi

Screenshot of the viral post containing a purported screenshot of an X Post by Global Times. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The screenshot of the Global Times post about Xi Jinping congratulating Rahul Gandhi is digitally altered.

Claim ID 0b58c0e3


The Indian National Congress (INC) conducted the Bharat Jodo Yatra under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi from September 7, 2022, to January 30, 2023, encouraging his party cadre and the general public to walk with him as part of this political movement. Similarly, the second phase of this Yatra kickstarted from India’s north-eastern state Manipur on January 14, 2024, and has been titled “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.” This is expected to take place over 66 days covering 15 states in India. 

What is the claim?

As the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra kickstarted from Manipur, some social media users shared a purported screenshot of an X (formerly Twitter) post by a Chinese Communist Party-controlled tabloid, Global Times. This screenshot contained a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping along with a text that read, “Chinese Premier Xi Jinping thanks Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for respecting sovereignty of China by starting his Bharat Nyay Yatra from Manipur instead of Indian occupied Arunachal Pradesh (sic).”

China has for a long time staked a claim for the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, to be part of China. There have been several border skirmishes and diplomatic exchanges between India and China over the issue. 

The caption of one of the posts shared on X with the screenshot read, “What did I told you on day one when this yatra first route was published, Arunachal was left out. Congress means Chinese franchise (sic),” (archived here).

This caption implies that the Congress Party had initially left out Arunachal Pradesh from their Yatra to appease the Chinese government and that the Chinese President seemed to appreciate their move to start the yatra from Manipur. Archives of similar posts on X and Facebook can be seen here and here

Screenshot of the viral posts. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this screenshot of the purported X post by Global Times is digitally altered.

What are the facts?

We conducted a keyword search for reports about the Chinese president congratulating Rahul Gandhi on starting the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from Manipur. However, the search did not return any results. The X account of Global Times (@globaltimesnews) did not contain any such posts.

To confirm that no such post has been deleted from this account, we used Social Blade, a social media analytics tool, and confirmed that no posts have been deleted by the Global Times account recently.

Screenshot of the analytics on Social Blade. (Source: Social Blade/Screenshot)

Upon close inspection of the screenshot of the purported X post, we noticed that there were discrepancies in the image. At the bottom left of the screenshot with Xi Jinping’s image, we saw another image overlapping on what appears to be a tea pot placed on the desk in from of the Chinese President. Here, a partial image of a woman’s face can be seen, clearly indicating that this image has been digitally altered. 

Screenshot of the viral post highlighting the overlapping image. (Source: X/Screenshot)

Further, we conducted multiple reverse image searches with just the image of the Chinese president, as seen in the viral screenshot. This led us to a YouTube video uploaded dated March 8, 2018, by CGTN (China Global Television Network), titled, “President Xi talks with Guangdong deputies.”

The description of this 2018 YouTube video read, “Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday attended a panel discussion at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) with deputies from the southern province of Guangdong.” 

We noticed several similarities after comparing the viral screenshot with one of Xi Jinping’s frames in this video. The background wooden frame, the microphone placed in front of the president, and the color of his clothes, all matched with the viral screenshot. We also noticed several creases on the Chinese President’s clothes that were an exact match with the image seen in the viral screenshot. 

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral post and the CGTN video. (Source: X/CGTN/Screenshot)

This clearly shows that the image of Xi Jinping in the viral screenshot is from 2018. The Chinese president attended the National People’s Congress (NPC) held in China’s Guangdong Province where he spoke with his deputies on March 7, 2018. 

Initially, the Congress Party had planned this Yatra to be covered across 14 states but later included Arunachal Pradesh, making it 15, according to a report by The Indian Express, dated, January 5, 2024.

The official website of Bharath Jodo Yatra also has a new route map that includes Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar along its intended route. Quoting Congress party spokesperson Mahima Singh, PTI News, in one of its news articles dated January 6, 2024, noted that Rahul Gandhi has chosen Manipur to launch the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' due to his concern over the situation in that state. 

The verdict

The screenshot of a purported Global Times post on X on Xi Jinping congratulating Rahul Gandhi for starting the Bharath Jodo Nyay Yatra from Manipur instead of Arunachal Pradesh is fake.

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