Fire in China skyscraper did not kill 600 people

Viral post claims the tallest building in China caught fire killing 600

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Claim: The tallest skyscraper in China -fourth tallest building in the world- caught fire, leaving six hundred people dead. It was the biggest fire since 9/11. An additional claim in social media posts argues that the fire was an American conspiracy plan.

Fact: No casualties from the incident were reported. Furthermore, the building is not the tallest in China, nor the fourth tallest building in the world. The building is called Changsha No.2 Telecom Hinge Building. The forty-two-storey skyscraper is the regional office for China Telecom in Hunan, China. 

Fact or Fiction?

Skyscraper in Changsha, China on fire on 16 September, 2022.

On 16 September 2022, a fire broke out in China Telecom’s regional office in Hunan’s provincial capital Changsha. Following the incident, videos of the fire went viral on social media in Pakistan. It is being shared with the following captions:

چین کی سب سے اونچی عمارت میں آگ لگی ھے بتایا جا رھا ھے یہ آگ امریکی سازش کے #Skyscraper
تحت لگائی گئی ھے یہ دنیا کی چوتھی بلند عمارت تھی اب تک چھ سو لوگ جل کر مر گئے ھے یہ 9/11 کے بعد
دوسرا بڑا واقعہ ھے [The tallest building in China has caught fire, it is being said that the fire was a result of an American conspiracy. It is the fourth tallest building in the world, 600 people have lost their lives so far. It is the biggest incident since 9/11]

Another version of the same video went viral with a similar caption, excluding the claim about American conspiracy. 

Changsha No. 2 Telecom Hinge building, also known as the Lotus Garden China Telecom Building, is a forty-two-storey building completed in 2003. At the time of completion, it was the tallest building in Changsha. Currently, it is ranked as the 1538th tallest building in the world. The tallest building in China is the Shanghai Tower, which is also the second tallest building in the world. The fourth tallest building in the world is the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, China. 

A company spokesperson stated that no casualties had been reported from the incident. The same has been reported on the company and provincial fire department’s social media pages on Sina Weibo, a popular social media site in China. The incident was reported around 3:48 pm local time and was put out by 4:20 pm, according to the official Hunan fire department account on Weibo. The cause of the fire remains unknown. No claims of American conspiracy were found or made by Chinese authorities, and there is no evidence to support this claim.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period since 14 to 21 September using the following search terms:

  • چین کی سب سے اونچی عمارت
  • چین کی سب سے اونچی عمارت امریکی سازش

The first search term turned up 8,115 interactions across 231 posts, while the second search turned up 3691 interactions across 152 posts. It was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

It was also shared on Twitter here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Conclusion: The fire in China Telecom’s building did not kill 600 people. The building is not among the tallest buildings in China or the world. There is no evidence to support claims of it being an American conspiracy. 

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