(Editor's note: this article is first published by Annie Lab, a fact-checking project by Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong and Asian Network of News and Information Educators (ANNIE), and written by Huang Xitian and Xue Xiaodong.)
On Oct. 10, a video showing children being taught about public transportation etiquette was posted on Twitter with a caption that reads “Education in Japan.”
The video shows a simulation of common courtesy in public transport, where people, including children, give their seats to pregnant women and the elderly.
It has been viewed 1.5 million times with 7,300 retweets and 19,000 likes before it was deleted. The same video with a similar caption has also been shared widely on Twitter through another account.
Users’ comments to the post suggest many of them believe it shows Japanese education and commended Japanese culture.
However, the claim is misleading. The kindergarten activity in this video was conducted in Xinjiang, China. It was first posted on Douyin on Sept. 23 and in the video, a child can be heard speaking in Mandarin Chinese, “阿姨阿姨，您坐我這裏” (in English, “Auntie, please sit here”) when he offers his seat to the “pregnant lady”.
On Oct. 30, a Tacheng （塔城）official Douyin account posted a follow-up video and said it was taken at the Chinibai village （遲尼拜村） kindergarten on the Qiaheji pasture（恰合吉牧場） in Tacheng, Xinjiang.
In the new video a Chinibai village kindergarten teacher said the aim of the activity is to teach the children respect for the elderly and care for the people in need.
Annie Lab compared the video posted by Tacheng news media center and the misleading Twitter video and found them identical.
A boy has a make-believe bump on his belly, ostensibly to make him look like a pregnant woman, and a girl is holding a stick, apparently to play the role of an old woman.
Annie Lab also found an article describing activities in the same kindergarten with a series of pictures that show children dressing up to put on shows, playing games and eating snacks together.
The photos, seemingly taken at the end of 2019 to celebrate the New Year, display what appears to be the same room as the one in the misleading video.
The curtains, teaching props as well as wall decorations in the photos and the video in question are all identical, confirming that this educational activity took place in Xinjiang, China.
Disclaimer: This is a student work. Although faculty members at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong have done everything possible to verify its accuracy, we cannot guarantee there are no mistakes. If you notice an error or have any questions, please email us at [email protected].