False: China is issuing its soldiers with lethal self-destructing helmets.

By: Sam Doak
January 27 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
False: China is issuing its soldiers with lethal self-destructing helmets.


The Verdict False

No reliable sources corroborate this claim.

Claim ID 85998b85


In recent weeks, users on TikTok have been sharing content claiming that Chinese soldiers are being equipped with self-destructing helmets. Most of these videos show an individual presenting as a newscaster outlining the narrative in the following terms: 

“Chinese soldiers stationed in Tibet are being issued helmets that have self-destruct buttons. You press the button, and a bomb that's embedded in the helmet goes off and kills the soldier. In fact, Chinese state-run media published an article bragging about these new helmets, writing: 'if a soldier is seriously wounded and doesn’t want to be captured, he can activate the self-destruct function himself. This can maintain his dignity.’"

However, the soldier isn't the only one who can activate the function. The report also mentioned that a commander, who oversees the soldier, can activate the helmet itself."

According to the narrator, the Chinese government has introduced this equipment to address morale issues. On this point, he states:  

"So what's the reason for this? Well, the Chinese military has been, one the last several years now, struggling with soldiers deserting… and now they will be forced to fight or otherwise, they will be killed." 

In Fact

There is no evidence to support the claim that Chinese soldiers are being equipped with self-destructing helmets. The video outlining this narrative cites an article published by the Epoch Times. While this is not stated in the footage, this article was written by the video's narrator, Roman Balmakov. 

As previously reported by Lead Stories, the Epoch Times article contains a link to the source of the claim, stating that it is from state-owned media. Balmakov claims that this original source has been edited and provides a further link, claiming it leads to an archived version. 

Inspection of both links casts doubt on this claim. The first leads readers to an article reporting on a television segment demonstrating advanced military hardware being provided to soldiers in Tibet, including helmets. There is no mention of the self-destructing capabilities discussed by Balmakov in this article. The second link does not lead to an archived version of this article, as claimed. Instead, it directs to a piece that discusses it. This article does mention “self-destructing capabilities;” however, in this context, the author seems to be referring to the ability of soldiers to disable the technology they are being provided with. At no point does this article explicitly state that a soldier would be killed in this process or even if it entails any kind of explosion.  

This claim should be considered in the context of The Epoch Times' history of producing misinformation. According to Health Feedback, the far-right outlet has in the past spread multiple falsehoods concerning COVID-19. In addition to this, openDemocracy has reported that the site has promoted the Great Reset conspiracy theory. Its claims relating to the Chinese state ought to be read with particular skepticism due to the publication's affiliation with the Falun Gong religious movement, which has long been vocally opposed to the Chinese communist government. 

Despite The Epoch Times initially making this claim in January 2021, no evidence has since surfaced that corroborates it. It is arguably extremely unlikely that no reliable outlet would find evidence of this technology's existence in this timeframe if it existed as claimed.

The Verdict

This claim originates in the Epoch Times, an outlet with a known history of spreading misinformation. No other sources could be found that corroborate the claims this outlet makes regarding lethal self-destructing helmets. This claim has therefore been marked as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before