Video shows altercation between Indonesian authorities and local residents -- not Chinese soldiers

·3 min read

A video has been viewed thousands of times on social media posts alongside a claim that it shows Chinese soldiers in an altercation with Indonesian police and military. The claim is false. The video has circulated in news reports about a confrontation between Indonesian authorities and local residents -- not Chinese soldiers -- when police tried to arrest suspected illegal miners in Indonesia's Aceh province.

The 49-second clip was posted on Facebook here on June 30, 2022.

It appears to show an altercation between a large group of people, some of whom are wearing Indonesian police and army uniforms.

The post's Indonesian-language caption translates to English as: "Chinese soldiers have started to act, have dared to fight our soldiers. Because they have already started carrying individual weapons.. They have started to act as a small group. The reason is to secure their assets.. Palm oil plantations and others... that is the excuse but they actually want to show that Chinese soldiers have already taken control of the area..

"The Indonesian military and national police can't do anything, they are just spectators in their own country, it's heartbreaking."

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on July 19, 2022

The video has been viewed more than 17,000 times in similar Facebook posts here, here, here and here, and on YouTube here.

However, the claim is false.

'Not Chinese soldiers'

A reverse image search and keyword searches on Google found the video published here in a report by Indonesian news outlet Detikcom on June 29, 2022.

The article's Indonesian-language headline translates to English as: "Police Officers Blocked by Residents While Attempting to Arrest Illegal Miners."

According to the report, the video shows local police officers being blocked by residents as they tried to arrest people suspected of illegal mining in Geumpang, a district in the Pidie regency of Indonesia's Aceh province.

The video was also posted here on Detikcom's YouTube channel the following day.

The video in the news report is credited to an Indonesian Twitter user who uploaded the clip here on June 29, 2022.

Translated to English, the tweet reads: "It is said that this took place in Aceh...don't know what all the pushing around is about. They are also carrying long barrels. Scary."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video from Twitter (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video on Twitter (right)

Alfath Asmunda, an AFP stringer based in Aceh, reported on the incident here for Indonesian news website Merdeka.com. The article includes a screenshot from the video.

"Those were not Chinese soldiers," he told AFP when contacted on July 15, 2022.

He said that the video shows the confrontation that took place between police and army officers and members of the local community in Geumpang district in Pidie.

The Aceh police released an official statement about the incident here on July 1, 2022.

The altercation was also reported on by other news outlets here, here and here.

AFP has previously debunked anti-Chinese misinformation circulating in Indonesia, for example herehere and here.

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