Times Now & Others Air False Claim of Taiwan Shooting Chinese Jet
We analysed the location of the videos along with OSINT experts and found that the crash took place in Guilin.
Several Indian media outlets including News24, Times Now, and ABP News ran unverified visuals and claimed that Taiwan had shot down a Chinese fighter aircraft that was flying over the Taiwanese airspace.
However, Taiwan’s defence ministry has called this “fake news.” Further, we analysed the location of the videos along with OSINT experts and found that the crash took place in Guilin, China which is around 1,000 km away from Taiwan.
A Twitter handle ‘News Line IFE Live’ had tweeted the visuals of the incident and made the same claim. “#BrekingNews : #Taiwan air defence system shoots down #China #PLA - Airforce aircraft after intrusion into Taiwanese airspace. (sic)” the tweet read.
It had garnered over four lakh views at the time publishing the article.
Even though no official reports had come from either Taiwan or Chinese side, some media channels ran the visuals and made the same claim, Times Now being one of them.
ABP News and ABP Majha, too, uploaded the video and claimed that the incident happened in Taiwan.
TV9 Bharatvarsh also carried the visuals and claimed that “Taiwan did it”.
Unconfirmed visuals did not stop Major Surendra Poonia from tweeting the video and claiming “Chinese fighter Jet shot down by Taiwan.”
IPS Officer Dipanshu Kabra, too, had tweeted the same claim. However, he later took down his tweet.
A website called Defense World published an article with the headline: “Taiwan Shoots Down Chinese SU-35 Violating Airspace: Reports”.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Firstly, Taiwan’s defence ministry said that the claim doing the rounds is nothing but “fake news”.
Further, a statement released by Taiwan’s defence ministry read: “In response to the Internet spread of "Taiwan shot down a CCP SU-35 aircraft?" The Air Force Command solemnly refuted this (4) day that this is false information, false information, and completely untrue.”
Soon after, several OSINT experts pointed out that the video could be from Guilin in China which is nearly 1,000 km away from Taiwan.
We came across another video that mentioned that the visuals show the plane crash. The tweet, when translated to English, reads: “In Guilin, Guangxi (over the 18th middle), the plane fell.”
Now, we got in touch with an OSINT expert with Twitter handle @Faytuks who said that the video has been geolocated by someone at OSINT’s discord sever. The location shared by the handle is: ‘Guilin No. 18 Middle School.’
We searched for the location on Google Maps and this is what it looks like:
While the said location does not have a street view, we tried to compare geographical features of this location with what is seen in one of the videos.
1. THE RUNNING TRACK
The running track is in the exact same shape in both the visuals. The intersection of the curve of the running track with that of the straight line is the same (highlighted in blue). The length of the straight line looks visually same as well.
On looking carefully, one can see a white floor-like structure at the end of the straight line of the track (highlighted in yellow). This structure is surrounded by grass in both the visuals.
2. EMPTY SPACE NEAR THE TRACK
In the video tweeted by one of the users, an empty space can be seen near the track. A similar space can be seen on the said location on Google Maps.
3. THE GREENS AROUND THE TRACK
If you notice carefully, not only are the track and the white space in the same alignment, even the trees/ green spaces are laid out in the same way.
4. STAIR-LIKE STRUCTURE
Now, this running track has a set of steps placed along with it. Since the Google Map image is not extremely clear, The Quint cannot ascertain if the location shows ‘steps’. However, one can see that the structure has two different rows that possibly are at different levels.
While an official statement from the Chinese government on the said incident is yet to come and the cause of the crash remains unknown, from the above information it seems the crash took place in China and not Taiwan.
The visual comparisons shown above prove that the crash happened somewhere near the Guilin No 18 Middle School.
RECENT ALLEGATIONS MADE BY TAIWAN REGARDING CHINESE FIGHTER JETS
According to an article published by the South China Morning Post, China had allegedly deployed fighter jets that nearly crossed a line of the Taiwan Strait in August. This came amid Taiwan hosting US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
“Taiwan’s air force said that for a short period at around 9 am on Monday it detected mainland Chinese J-10 and J-11 aircraft passing the median point of the Taiwan Strait, crossing the unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and mainland China,” the article added.
Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Chinese government-run Global Times, reportedly shared a video on Weibo stating that China’s “deployment of fighter jets to the Taiwan Strait was a “clear warning” to Taiwan over Azar’s visit.”
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