Fact Check: Video Showing China Forcibly Taking Mass Test for Covid-19 Is Misleading

In accordance with its “zero Covid” policy, China is conducting extensive testing, local lockdowns, and stringent isolation regulations. Wuhan city reportedly went into lockdown lately after routine testing revealed two asymptomatic illnesses.

Against this backdrop, a video is widely shared on social media, showing people handcuffed on the streets and forcibly tested for COVID-19 in China. 

The video is shared on Facebook with a caption: “CHINA – These citizens are handcuffed and lined up to forcibly take Covid tests by armed police. Total State control, eyes open, winter is on the way.”

Here’s the link to the above post.


NewsMobile fact-checked the above claim, and found it to be MISLEADING. 

Using the InVid Tool, we extracted keyframes from the viral video and performed Reverse Image Search on Yandex. This search directed us to a news report published in a Chinese news outlet Lanzhou Daily. The provincial capital of Gansu in north-west China is Lanzhou. “Chengguan cops tear down a lair of pornography,” the English translation of the headline reads. According to this report, in April, the Lanzhou police broke into a pornography and prostitution ring in the Chengguan neighbourhood. 

We found similar characters, billboards, and windows in both the photographs from the  article and screenshots from the viral video. This demonstrated that the Covid-19 mass testing in the video was not being coerced.

Another local media report had also carried similar images of the incident in April 2022. 

Thus, it is clear that the viral video does not show people in China handcuffed and forcibly tested for COVID-19.  

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