Building collapse video doesn’t show Taiwan earthquake aftermath

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A video of buildings collapsing is being falsely shared as a scene from the earthquake that struck Taiwan on April 3. The video was actually taken in China in 2021.

The strongest earthquake in a quarter-century rocked Taiwan during the morning rush hour on April 3, killing nine people, stranding dozens of workers at quarries and sending some residents scrambling out of damaged buildings’ windows.

During the earthquake and in its aftermath, major news organizations shared dramatic footage across social media

One such dramatic video clip that’s been shared repeatedly shows several high-rise skyscrapers collapsing to the ground. 

“Multiple buildings have collapsed after a Pair of Massive 7.5 Earthquakes Strikes Triggering Tsunami Warnings,” one post on X with tens of thousands of views says

THE QUESTION

Does this video show skyscrapers collapsing during the April 2024 earthquake in Taiwan?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, this video doesn’t show skyscrapers collapsing during the April 2024 earthquake in Taiwan. The video shows the 2021 demolition of 15 buildings in China’s Yunnan Province.

WHAT WE FOUND

It is true that some buildings in Taiwan leaned at severe angles after their ground floors were crushed during the April 3 earthquake. But this video clip doesn’t show buildings collapsing anywhere in Taiwan. 

The video is nearly three years old and shows the controlled demolition of 15 buildings in Kunming, which is the capital of China’s Yunnan Province.

Using InVid, a video forensics tool, VERIFY analyzed keyframes of the video and conducted a reverse image search of the frames. We were able to trace the video to this YouTube video that shows controlled demolition on Aug. 27, 2021.

In both videos, the buildings and surroundings are identical. At the 2:51-mark in the YouTube video from 2021, a rooftop court can be seen in the frame. The same court appears at the start of the clips that were shared after the Taiwan earthquake. 

VERIFY also found several other videos posted on Aug. 27, 2021 showing different angles of the same buildings being demolished in the middle of Kunming.

Taiwan News reported that the demolished buildings were part of the Liyang Star City Phase II project, which sat unfinished for eight years. 

The buildings were marked for demolition because the development could no longer meet market demand and because the buildings were neglected for so long that flooding had caused irreparable damage to the foundations of the buildings, Chinese news site Min News reported.  

China’s Global Times also posted photos of the demolition in 2021. 

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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Building collapse video doesn’t show Taiwan earthquake aftermath

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