Social media users fall in love with satirical video mocking China’s strict Covid lockdowns

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A satirical video viewed hundreds of thousands of times online appears to show a Chinese Foreign Ministry official claiming that the country’s strict pandemic lockdown measures were ‘initiated’ by the Chinese people and not imposed by the government. government. Some social media users, however, seemed to believe the video showed a genuine government announcement. The video is actually from a Taiwanese media channel that broadcasts regularly publishes a political satire on China.

The video has been viewed over 230,000 times after being shared on Twitter on August 15.

Its caption in simplified Chinese translates to: “Chinese Communist Party Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The Chinese government has never issued a containment or silent management order.

“All relevant epidemic prevention activities are initiated by the Chinese people independently and voluntarily!”

In China, authorities use the term “silent management” to refer to partial closures in certain areas.

The 30-second video shows what appears to be a live broadcast of a Foreign Office press conference titled: ‘No longer responding to [questions about lockdown] measures“.

A person speaking in Mandarin said: “First of all, I would like to remind everyone here that today’s Foreign Ministry press conference will not answer any questions about the lockdowns, the silent management or relatively static management. [of the virus].

“Because China has repeatedly made it clear that the Chinese government has never issued containment orders. All relevant epidemic prevention activities are initiated voluntarily by the Chinese people. Further discussion here is a loss. of time.”

Screenshot taken on August 16, 2022 of the Twitter post

China is the only major economy still sticking to a zero Covid strategy, which is holding back local tourism during peak travel seasons.

The strategy involves instant lockdowns and quarantines, sometimes on just a handful of cases, and the measures have sparked anxiety and anger in some cities.

The same video was also shared with a similar claim here, here and here on Twitter; here on Telegram; here on YouTube; herehere and here on Facebook; and here, here and here on US social media site Gettr.

Several users seemed to believe the video showed an actual press conference.

“[Chinese] Foreign Ministry spokespeople are getting dumber,” one wrote.

“Voluntarily?! [He is] lie shamelessly!” another commented.

political satire

A social media user, however, wrote in a comment on one of the posts that the video was taken from Taiwanese satirical media channel Eye Central Television.

The canal Facebook page states that it “satires current events with delusion” and “hopes to arouse public thought through nonsense and bring warmth, happiness and strength to global society”.

A keyword search on his YouTube channel found a longer version of the video dated August 10.

The caption of the YouTube video contains sexual innuendo that appears to poke fun at China’s reaction to US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Video in misleading posts can be seen from YouTube video 51 second mark.

Below are two comparison screenshots of the video shared in online posts (left) and the YouTube video (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the video shared in online posts (left) and the YouTube video (right)

The actor who plays the official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also appears at the start of the video as the host. It identifies itself as “Retina”.

Retina – whose real name is Chen Tzu-chien – is the co-founder and host of Eye Central Television.

The channel has previously posted satirical videos mimicking Chinese Foreign Ministry press conferences, including here and here.

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