4 December 2023

Analysis: Man yelling in Mandarin outside White House unlikely to be a protester

The man appears to be part of a TV crew from China, covering the protest.

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A video of a man shouting in Mandarin during clashes between police and protesters outside the White House on Sunday night went viral in multiple languages on social media, including FacebookTwitterYouTube and Telegram.

In the video, a man appears to be yelling in Mandarin Chinese “Go, hurry up, go, go, go, go,” which prompted a theory that the Chinese government sent secret agents to instigate riots and coordinate violent actions in the ongoing protests across the United States. Almost all posts claim protesters are somehow linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

Within 24 hours of the video appearing on the internet similar claims became extremely popular, with more than half a million views and tens of thousands of shares cumulatively on various platforms in Annie Lab’s estimation (for example, here, herehere and here).

The footage was also quoted by some news organizations such as the Liberty Times of Taiwan.

However, the usage of the video could be misleading. The man who is speaking Chinese appears to be part of a TV crew from China covering the protest.

A reporter from China Central Television (CCTV) posted the original video on TikTok at noon on June 1 (Beijing Time) on CCTV’s official account (@kuaikancctv).

The video was later included in multiple news programs on Channel 13, CCTV’s news channel. CCTV’s reporter, Yin Yue, was at the scene with a broadcast team.

Another Chinese reporter from CCTV, Wang Shuguang, also posted a video of his own via CCTV’s official account on Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili.com.

Both reporters said the police were throwing tear gas canisters to the crowd and they had to take cover immediately, according to a CCTV article.

According to AFP, the violent confrontation between the police and protesters took place in a small park next to the White House. The police fired tear gas, pepper spray, and flash-bang grenades to disperse crowds setting fires and vandalizing properties nearby.