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Video shows 2015 blast in Tianjin, not Beijing in 2022

September 26, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows explosions in Beijing in September 2022.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was taken in the port city of Tianjin, in northern China on Aug. 12, 2015 during a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse.

THE FACTS: Social media users shared baseless claims that a coup was taking place in China over the weekend, with some on Twitter sharing the old video from Tianjin, falsely claiming it showed explosions in Beijing.

The video, which was filmed from a window, shows a ball of fire exploding between high-rise buildings.

“Footage coming from #Beijing during the #chinacoup against #XiJinping,” a tweet that shared the video falsely claimed.

“#Beijing Footage of big explosions coming from #Beijing during the china coup against Xi Jinping? The video that is going viral on social media is true, can anyone tell ?” another tweet sharing the clip stated.

But the video is seven years old and shows the warehouse explosion in Tianjin, which The Associated Press reported left 173 people dead or missing. While it’s not clear who posted the original clip, the same video was featured in articles by multiple media outlets about the 2015 blast at the time, including BBC News. The footage is very similar to other videos of the Tianjin explosion.

The blasts happened at a warehouse that contained hazardous material, where 700 tons of sodium cyanide — a toxic chemical that can form combustible substances on contact with water — was being stored in amounts that violated safety rules, the AP reported.

Over the weekend, baseless posts spread online claiming without evidence that a military coup was taking place among leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party. The unsubstantiated claims come weeks before the country prepares to hold a key congress to which Chinese president Xi Jinping is expected to be granted a third five-year term. Such congresses are held every five years and usually bring in a new slate of leaders, particularly on the party’s all-powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the AP reported.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.