Chinese TV show scene falsely shared as 'genuine video filmed during the Korean War'

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A video of a television crew filming on location has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in Chinese posts that falsely claim it shows genuine footage of Chinese soldiers who froze to death during a pivotal battle in the Korean War. The posts claim the footage was taken by the US military in 1950. But the video in fact corresponds to scenes from a Chinese television series about the country's involvement in the conflict that aired in 2020.

The video was shared on Twitter here on February 18, 2023.

It appears to show three men in military uniform chatting in a mountainous area while motionless people lie scattered on the snow around them.

The simplified-Chinese tweet reads: "Real footage of the frozen troops at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, filmed by American troops. This shows the CCP leaders have never seen Chinese people as humans, never seen the lives of soldiers as real human lives."

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir took place in 1950, during the Korean War -- with North Korea backed by China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea supported by the United States and other United Nations member countries.

According to this report published by the US National Medal of Honor Museum, "The US X Corps and Republic of Korea I Corps reported 10,495 casualties during the fighting around Chosin. And the brutal cold added another 7,388 Marines to the list as non-battle casualties."

Historians believe that the Chinese suffered "9,202 combat casualties and an additional 28,954 non-combat casualties", the report continues.

A screenshot of the misleading tweet, captured on February 23, 2023

The same 53-second video was also shared on Twitter and TikTok alongside a similar claim, garnering more than 500,000 views.

Although some social media users pointed out the video was shared out of context, others appeared to believe the video showed genuine footage from 1950.

One user wrote: "Immortal heroes."

"Serves them right. Help the North Korean invaders. Freeze to death," wrote another.

The video, however, shows filming for a Chinese TV series about the country's involvement in the Korean War that was produced to commemorate the Communist Party of China's 100th anniversary.

A combination of reverse image searches and keyword searches on Baidu found a similar scene in the 19th episode of the TV series "Stride Across the Yalu River".

The scene begins at the clip's 26-minute 45-second mark.

The series was aired on China's national broadcaster CCTV in December 2020.

Directed by Chinese cinematographer Dong Yachun and starring Tang Guoqiang, the TV show "illustrates the entire process of resisting US aggression, from the initial decision to the signing of the armistice agreement".

Below are screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading post (left) and the scene in the TV show (right), with similar features circled by AFP:

Screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading post (left) and the scene in the TV show (right)

Similar clips that show the series being produced were published on Weibo here and here in November 2020.

The clips feature people operating filming equipment, as highlighted by AFP in the screenshots below:

A screenshot, taken on March 14, 2023 of the Weibo posts with filming equipment highlighted by AFP.

The same claim was also debunked by the Chinese news site in November 2020.

March 14, 2023 This story was updated to correct a link in the final paragraph.