People wearing face masks walk before a propaganda poster displayed on a street in Pyongyang on April 9, 2020 ( AFP / KIM Won Jin)

This video has been falsely subtitled to claim North Korea executed a Covid-19 patient

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A video purporting to show a North Korean news anchor announcing the country had achieved all-out success in fighting Covid-19 by executing a patient has been viewed tens of thousands of times on social media posts. The video is likely satirical: the Chinese subtitles in the video do not match the anchor's actual speech. The news anchor is announcing the launch of a rocket, and the video has circulated online since at least December 2012.

The video was published here on Twitter on August 5, 2021. It has been shared more than 100 times and has more than 27,000 views.

A screenshot, taken on August 11, 2021, of the misleading post. ( AFP)

The post's caption, written in simplified Chinese, reads: "After listening to this North Korean news, I have a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. What I liked was the tone of the announcer, which I am already familiar with. Without the need to speak Korean, I can also make sounds with the same intonations. But the sad thing is the last sentence."

The simplified Chinese subtitles on the video read: "The Labour Party has brought great news. As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads all over the world, our country has diagnosed one case, and executed one case, achieving an all-out victory in anti-epidemic measures."

Comments on the misleading video from some Twitter users indicated they believe the video is genuine.

"Find one case, kill one case," one user tweeted.

Another commented: "really executed that person".

A screenshot of a selection of comments under the misleading video. ( AFP)

The same video was shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter and YouTube.

The claim, however, is likely satire: the subtitles in the video are mistranslated.

The presenter actually says in Korean: “The second version of satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 successfully lifted off from the Sohae Space Centre in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province by carrier rocket Unha-3 on December 12.”

The Korean text on the orange banner reads: "Succeeded in launching the 'Kwangmyongsong-3' no.2 satellite".

AFP reported the launch of a rocket here on December 12, 2012, mentioning a "triumphant special broadcast on state television".

A reverse image search on Google found a similar image of the presenter with the same Korean texts in the orange banner in a Chinese state media news report on the launch.

A screenshot, taken on August 11, 2021, of the People Daily's news report. ( AFP)

The report reads in part: "North Korea has successfully launched the "Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit 2" using the "Unhe-3" launch vehicle at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station".

A follow-up keyword search on Google found the same video published here on YouTube on December 12, 2012, which predates the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misleading video (L) and the 2012 YouTube video (R):

A screenshot comparison of the misleading video (L) and the Youtube video (R). ( AFP)
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