Old video from China falsely attributed to ongoing Israel-Hamas war

By: Chandan Borgohain
October 17 2023

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Old video from China falsely attributed to ongoing Israel-Hamas war

Screenshots of posts purportedly showing the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video was reportedly captured in China in August 2021 and shows the demolition of multiple high-rise buildings.

Claim ID d363db90

(Editor's Note: This story was first published on October 17, 2023, and is being republished from Logically Facts' archives in light of the same video being shared as footage of the earthquake that hit Taiwan on April 3, 2024.)

Several unverified and dated visuals have been circulating online since the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack against Israel on October 7, 2023. Israel declared war in retaliation and carried out airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. According to a report by CNBC, more than 4,000 people have died on both sides as the conflict enters its ninth day on October 16.

What is the claim?

An eight-second-long video showing multiple skyrise buildings collapsing to the ground is circulating on social media as visuals of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Sharing the video on Facebook on October 12, a user wrote in Assamese, “No terrorist will be born in Gaza for the next hundred years. Israel has become very dreadful.” (Translated to English) The post has gained 7,700 views at the time of writing this story and can be seen archived here

Screenshot of a Facebook post of the viral clip. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

A six-second version of the video has also been shared on X with similar claims. An X post shared on October 11 reads, “Someone please tell the ICC people to postpone the World Cup a bit. Israel's shots are the most entertaining. #IsraelHamas #PalestineUnderAttack # #Gaza_under_attack.” You can see the archived version here

Screenshot of an X post of the viral clip. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this is not true, and news reports show that this video was filmed in China in August 2021.

What did we find?

We performed a reverse image search on keyframes from the video, which led us to a post with a longer version shared on X on July 9, 2023. According to the caption of the X post, shared by American journalist Brian Krassenstein, the video shows the “demolition of 15 high-rise buildings” in China. It also mentions that the video is not recent and was captured a few years ago.

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and a video on X. (Source: Facebook(L)/X(R)/Modified by Logically Facts)

Taking a cue from this, we found a Facebook post that shared a similar video of the building demolition, captured from a different angle. On comparing this video with the viral clip, we noted that the buildings and the landscape in the background in both videos match each other. Further, in both videos, one building remains intact while the others collapse. According to the Facebook post shared on September 9, 2021, the video was filmed in Kunming in the Yunnan Province in southwestern China on August 27, 2021.

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and the September 2021 Facebook video. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

We also found a video on the demolition published by a YouTube channel called China Observer on August 30, 2021. The caption of this video also placed the incident in Kunming city, China, and shows footage of the entire area before the demolition. At the 2:49 timestamp of this video, we saw a short grey building, a cloud of dust, and one lone building standing. This matches almost exactly with the 0:12 timestamp of the 16-second-long video shared by Krassenstein.

Comparison of the screenshots from the longer video on X and China Observer clip. (Source: X/YouTube/Modified by Logically Facts)

News outlet USA Today also reported on the controlled demolition and carried visuals of it from a different angle. Their video, published on YouTube on August 31, 2023, was titled "15 buildings in China get demolished simultaneously." An article published by Vice on September 15, 2021, on the incident said that half-constructed buildings were demolished in China’s Kunming city on August 27. “The blast failed to destroy a 15th high-rise, which was torn down three days later, local media reported,” the report also noted, which matches our findings.

The verdict

The viral video is unrelated to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. It reportedly shows a 2021 incident of multiple high-rise buildings being demolished in Kunming City in southwestern China. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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