4 December 2023

False: This video does not show ‘disguised suicide’ in China; it shows a man falling off a building in Russia

The 26-year-old man was pushed from the sixth floor of a building on Aug. 15, 2021.

A Twitter video posted on Sept. 27 shows a man being pushed out of a building by another figure and falling down the street. The tweet heavily implies that the video shows a Chinese official who was killed before being pushed out of the window.

The Chinese post reads, when translated to English, “Confirmed by netizens: the truth behind so-called suicides of Chinese officials – kill him first, place him on the windowsill and then push him down. This is the essence of the countless Chinese officials’ suicides by jumping over the past 7-8 years.”

Although some users cast doubt on the authenticity of the video, a majority of the responses appear to have believed that it depicted a killing in China. One user commented, “No surprise as it is CCP.” Another user said in Chinese, “This is the CCP’s specialty – forced suicide jumps.”

At the time of writing, the tweet has garnered over 2,300 likes and 1,100 retweets; the video has been viewed close to 160,000 times. Numerous tweets in Chinese (for example, here and here) have reposted the same video as well.

However, the claim is false.

The video actually shows a man being pushed from a window on the sixth floor of a building, hitting an air-conditioning unit and falling to the ground in Kogalym, Russia earlier this year.

Video was posted on Russian social media
The video first circulated in a group on Russian social media platform VK.

Annie Lab found that the video appeared on Russian social media platform VK and the Baza Telegram channel as early as Aug. 16, 2021. The incident was subsequently reported by local media on the same day.

According to news reports quoting the press service of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra, the incident happened in the evening on Aug. 15.

The 26-year-old man was allegedly pushed by his 56-year-old companion, who did not admit to committing the act. Both men were suspected to have consumed alcoholic beverages prior to the fall.

The companion was detained for disobedience to a police officer while the victim was sent to intensive care, the reports say.

Annie Lab was able to locate an apartment complex almost identical to the building in the video through Google Map.

Comparison between building in video and one on Google Maps
Features of the building from the video (left) are similar to those found in the Google street view image (right) despite an eight-year time gap.

While the street view image was taken in 2013, the building on 1 Molodezhnaya Street, Kogalym, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug shares similar features with the one captured on camera.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official gazette of the Russian government, also reports that the incident occurred on Molodezhnaya Street.

Annie Lab could not confirm the identities of the two people involved in the incident but none of the news reports indicates either of them is of Chinese origin or a Chinese government official.

According to a Chinese state media that New York Times quoted, 243 Chinese officials who have died by suicide from 2009 to 2016. Some experts in the news article link the growing rate to President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption launched in 2012.

Recently, senior official Li Zuobi was reported to have died by suicide amid a probe into the May 22 Gansu ultramarathon disaster. It is suspected the lack of a severe weather contingency plan led to the deaths of 21 athletes in the tragic event.