Old video of Chinese president visiting a mosque resurfaces during coronavirus outbreak

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Claim: A video has surfaced online with captions that claim it shows China’s president visiting a mosque to request Muslims to pray that the new coronavirus outbreak subsides.

Fact: The clip is actually from a 2016 video when the president visited Xincheng Mosque in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China for a fact-finding tour.

As of 10 February 2020, the 2019 novel coronavirus, recently named COVID-19, has infected 42,638 people and caused 1,016 deaths worldwide, causing widespread panic. The virus, which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The city has been sealed off and countries have stopped flights to and from China. 

Misinformation around the outbreak has spread at an alarming rate, the latest being a video that has been shared on Twitter and WhatsApp, apparently depicting the President of China Xi Jinping going to a mosque and urging Muslim worshippers to pray “in view of the difficult situation in the country”.

The false news spread so far that a Pakistani news website, Naya Daur Urdu picked up the story and tweeted the video with the caption “Chinese President Shi Jinping’s visit to the mosque appeals to Muslims in view of the current difficult situation in the country.” Their tweet has been retweeted 115 times and has 303 likes. 

However, the video has CCTV Video News Agency’s logo in the top right corner of the video and a quick google search ‘cctv chinese president visits mosque’ leads us to the clip that has been shared on Twitter. This video is by China’s CCTV Video News Agency and it is from 2016. The description of the video clearly states “Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a special visit to the Xincheng Mosque in Yinchuan City Tuesday morning, during his current fact-finding tour of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China.” The clip is dated 2016. 

Summary: The Chinese president visited a mosque in China, but in 2016, and it was not to ask Muslims to pray against the the COVID-19 outbreak.

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