4 December 2023

Misleading: These photos do not show the Burmese burning the Sino-Myanmar pipeline

Photos in the tweet are either old news photos or stock photos. None of the photos was taken in Myanmar or related to the protests currently taking place in the country.


On March 13, a Chinese post on Twitter contained a collage of photos showing pipelines ablaze alongside a map of northern Myanmar and China. The post, when translated to English, said, “Are the Burmese burning the oil pipeline to China?”

The post has gained over 900 likes and has been retweeted 350 times.

One of the collage photos also appeared in a tweet posted on March 11 by Maung Zarni whose profile indicates he is an activist from the U.K. and a coordinator at Free Rohingya Coalition.

Another post with the same photo collage expressed fear on March 15 that oil prices might rise in China because of it.

The photos are misleading. None of them were taken in Myanmar or related to the Sino-Myanmar pipeline project, except for the map.

The upper left image

Image search shows this is a stock photo from Shutterstock, which was taken in 2013 in the Mojave Desert in the U.S.


The map, on the other hand, seems to have been created by Reuters as shown on a local news site, the Irrawaddy, on March 1, 2011.


The upper right image

This photo was posted in 2011 by Vesti, an Israeli Russian-language daily newspaper. It shows a pipeline on fire near Yaroslavl, Russia.

According to the article, part of the gas pipeline was damaged during construction work and fully ignited after running into a local oil refinery.

burning pipeline
This photo shows a pipeline burning near Yaroslavl, Russia, in 2011.

The lower left image

This is a screenshot of a fuel tanker explosion on Feb. 13 at the Islam Qala crossing in western Afghanistan on the Iranian border. It seems to have been taken from a video produced by Reuters (at 0:05).

fire, burning

The lower right image

pipeline, repairing
The last photo shows workers repairing the pipe near Superior, Wisconsin.

This last photo shows replacement work on the pipeline near Superior, Wisconsin in the U.S., on Sept. 26, 2017, according to a news article by Minnesota Public Radio.

Annie Lab cannot independently confirm whether or not protesters in Myanmar have indeed burned down the oil and gas pipelines over allegations that China is supporting the military junta, but none of the images used in the tweets is the evidence of such action.

Earlier this month the protesters reportedly threatened to take such actions against the project.

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