This video was filmed in Paris -- it does not show students protesting Covid curbs in Beijing

·3 min read

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple social media posts alongside the claim it shows a violent police crackdown on students protesting a Covid-19 lockdown at a university in Beijing. While there were reports of student protests against pandemic restrictions in the Chinese capital, the video was shared in a false context. It shows clips of May Day protests that turned violent in Paris.

The 30-second footage was shared on Twitter on May 11.

It shows clashes between protesters and riot police and has been overlaid with simplified Chinese text that translates as: "A large group of students at Beijing International Studies University protested a school lockdown, collectively rushed on to campus, and encountered a crackdown by large groups of police officers.

"The intensity was comparable to the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square!"

The Twitter post's caption makes a similar claim, likening the video to the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 when the government set tanks and troops on peaceful protesters.

Screenshot taken on June 9, 2022, of the false Twitter post

The post circulated after staff members and students at Beijing International Studies University reportedly protested against Covid-19 curbs.

Students from another university in China's capital, the elite Peking University, also protested strict Covid-19 curbs on campus in a rare show of defiance, as anger mounted over virus controls.

China is the only major country adhering to a rigid zero-Covid policy and its restrictions have prompted frustration with lockdowns, spartan quarantine facilities and heavy handed enforcement.

The video was viewed more than 4,000 times alongside a similar claim on Twitter here and on the US social media site Gettr here.

However, the video has been shared in a false context -- the clips were filmed in Paris.

A reverse search of keyframes found several clips correspond to portions of this May 1 report published by Turkish broadcaster Sözcü TV about a May Day rally that turned violent in the French capital.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the video in the false posts (left) and the video published by Sözcü TV (right):

Screenshot comparisons

Rallies in support of workers' rights in Paris turned violent as youths clashed with police on the sidelines and buildings were vandalised, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, the clip used starting from the 25-second mark of the video in the false posts corresponds to portions of this clip shared by Local Team, an Italian video platform, on Twitter on May 1.

The Twitter post also says the clip shows protests in Paris.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in one of the false posts (left) and the Twitter clip (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in one of the false posts (left) and the Twitter clip (right)

Locations shown in the clips correspond to Google imagery of Paris streets here and here.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the clips (left) and their corresponding imagery on Google Maps (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the clips (left) and their corresponding images on Google Maps (right)

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