26 September 2023

Misleading: This dark building is not where victims of fatal Guizhou bus accident lived

All 45 passengers, headed for a quarantine site, lived in Yunyan District, according to local news reports. The misleading photo shows an unrelated building in another district six kilometers away.

A Twitter user claimed on Sept. 19 that an image of a dark building shows the residential complex where the victims of a fatal bus crash in Guizhou lived. The post indicates that because “47 people were away,” no light was turned on.

The accident sparked a heated debate recently in China about the country’s epidemic prevention policy as the bus was taking the passengers to a centralized quarantine site at the time.

In the picture, the dark building is marked in red, emphasizing the contrast with another building next to it with many flats with lights on. The tweet has more than 360 retweets and close to 1,300 likes at the time of writing.

A similar claim was also shared elsewhere but it is misleading. The buildings in the picture are not located in the district where the victims and their families live.

An image search led to this Douyin video posted on Sept. 18, the day of the widely reported accident. It was geotagged at Huaguoyuan (花果園) of Nanming District, Guiyang City, in Guizhou Province.

Comparison of the image in the misleading tweet (left) and the Douyin video (right).

The Douyin account has posted other videos (such as this) supposedly taken at Huaguoyuan as well. Through keyword search, Annie lab was able to find a YouTube video that shows the same area.

Screenshot of the YouTube video (left) shows identical twin towers found in the Douyin video (right).

We also found another YouTube video that features the area and includes the same residential building found in the misleading tweet.

Screenshot of the YouTube video at 3:53 (left) shows the identical building in Huaguoyuan seen in the Douyin video (right).

According to news reports from the Xinhua News Agency and Caixin News, the victims of the tragic accident lived in Xiangyang Courtyard (向陽大院) in Yunyan District and not in Nanming, which is almost six kilometers away.

Xinhua News Agency said out of 47 people onboard, other than the driver and an attendant, all 45 passengers were from Yunyan District.
Caixin said the passengers were mostly from Xiangyang Courtyard, Yunyan district.
The two residential buildings are not in the same district.

The reports said among the 47 people on the bus, including the driver and one attendant, 27 people were killed and the other 20 were treated for injuries in the accident.