The Claim and Our Verdict
The claim: A video circulating online claims to show the recent protests in Wuhan against the local government’s reform to the public health insurance policies.
Fact-checking: The video was shot Feb. 6, 2023, on a street in Yanshi district of Luoyang city, Henan province. It actually shows people gathering to watch fireworks as they celebrated the Lantern Festival.
Our verdict: This video does not show Wuhan citizens taking to the streets to protest against the new public health insurance policies. It actually shows people watching a fireworks display at the Lantern Festival in central China’s Henan province.
According to HK01 and Hong Kong Economic Times, the new health insurance policies issued by the People’s Government of Wuhan City came into effect on Feb. 1, 2023. On Feb. 8, citizens took to the streets of Wuhan to protest against the local government’s move to cut subsidies for their health insurance.
A video shared Feb. 9, 2023, on Facebook, has gone viral. The caption, written in traditional Chinese, translates as, “Tens of thousands of Wuhan citizens took to the streets to protest against the government’s reform to the health insurance policies!” As of the publication of this report, the Facebook video had been viewed 6,738 times, and received 23 comments as well as 142 likes or reactions. Similar videos had been circulating on Twitter.
A reverse image search found a post published Feb. 7, 2023, on the Hong Kong Discuss Forum (HKDiscuss), which corresponds to the 14-second mark of the Facebook video. In the lower left corner of the picture shared on HKDiscuss, there is a text that reads “Everyone in Yanshi is here.” Therefore, it is very likely that the picture was taken in Yanshi district of Luoyang city, Henan province.
Keyword searches found an article published Feb. 6, 2023, by a WeChat official account. The article mentions that a fireworks show was held in Yanshi district on the evening of Feb. 6 to celebrate the Lantern Festival, and a huge crowd of people gathered on the streets to watch the show. In addition, videos of people watching the fireworks show in Yanshi on the day can also be found on Douyin; the background and surroundings of which are consistent with those shown in the Facebook video.
On Feb. 4, 2023, Henan Radio and Television Station released a map showing the designated viewing areas and traffic control arrangements for the fireworks show. In the area shown on the map, there is a place called “Lido Music Club” near Yiluo Road. According to the information and photos on DianPing, a Chinese online platform for lifestyle services and products, the appearance and night lights of Lido Music Club are almost identical to those appearing in the video.
The video does not show Wuhan citizens taking to the streets to protest against the public health insurance reform. It shows people watching the fireworks show in Henan at the Lantern Festival.
- HK01, “Tens of thousands of retirees protest in Wuhan over health insurance cuts to less than a hundred yuan,” Feb. 8, 2023.
- Hong Kong Economic Times, “Wuhan’s health insurance reform sparks protests; Authorities: ultimate beneficiaries are still the insured,” Feb. 9, 2023.
- Facebook, post, Feb. 9, 2023.
- Twitter, tweet, Feb. 9, 2023.
- The Hong Kong Discuss Forum, post, Feb. 7, 2023.
- WeChat official account of Yanshi Shuo, “Crowds of people gather in Yanshi tonight,” Feb. 6, 2023.
- Douyin, video, Feb. 6, 2023.
- Sina Henan, “Traffic and flight control in Yanshi at Lantern Festival,” Feb. 4, 2023.
- DianPing, Lido Music Club.