This video of whirlpools in China's Hunan province was taken in 2021, not in June 2022

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on June 28, 2022 at 06:19
  • Updated on June 28, 2022 at 06:31
  • 2 min read
  • By AFP Hong Kong
A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple social media posts that claim it shows whirlpools that had been formed by floodwaters in China's Hunan province in June 2022. However, the claim is false. The video has circulated online since mid-2021. A user on the Chinese video platform Douyin told AFP that he filmed the video close to his home in Hunan province in July that year. 

The one-minute, 45-second video was shared on Twitter here on June 21, 2022.

It shows a flooded river, where the current appears to be circling. A person can be heard talking off-camera in Mandarin about the size and movement of the whirlpools.

"On June 20, the flood came again. The largest whirlpool wonder in Huaihua city, Hunan province," reads the Chinese-language tweet.

"Imagine how miserable the local people are; this may only be the beginning."

Screenshot of the misleading Twitter post, taken on June 23, 2022

The video circulated after a whirlpool was spotted in Huaihua, a prefecture-level Chinese city in Hunan province, on June 19, 2022, following a rainstorm, local media reported.

Floods continued to batter Hunan province in the second half of June 2022, triggered by weeks-long torrential rains, reported state-run news agency Xinhua and the China Daily newspaper. 

The video has been viewed more than 3,400 times after being shared elsewhere on Twitter here, on Weibo here and on YouTube here.

However, the claim is false. 

A keyword search on Douyin, the Chinese version of video-sharing app TikTok, found a slightly longer video published here on July 2, 2021.

Below are screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Douyin (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Douyin (right)


Its caption reads: "The flood came again. The largest whirlpool 'wonder' in Huaihua city. The largest whirlpool can grow to more than 10 metres in diameter."

The Douyin video was tagged to Meihewan village, in Huaihua.

Contacted by AFP, the user behind the Douyin account said he filmed the video.

"This video was filmed on July 2, 2021 in my hometown, Meihewan village," the user said, identifying himself as Sun Manhua. "Many houses were flooded at that time."

Two similar videos were also posted on his Douyin account here and here in early July 2021.

According to this post by the Hunan government on July 6, 2021, the province had seen several days of torrential rain.

Sun also told AFP that Meihewan village sees dozens of floods every year.

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