26 September 2023
Fact checkMisleading

Misleading: Black police officers in this photo are not employed by China’s law enforcement

The senior officers were from Ivory Coast. They visited Hongshan in 2018 as part of a cross-border training.


Several social media posts on Twitter (here and here), Facebook, 4chan and YouTube featured a photo showing a group of black people in what looks like a police uniform.

They implied that those police officers were hired by the Urban Management and Law Enforcement in Hongshan District in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.

Some of the posts also said the image is authentic and was not photoshopped or generated by AI.

Together, they have gotten over 600 likes across different platforms.

These claims, however, are misleading. The black police officers in the photo are from Ivory Coast. They were visiting China as part of a training partnership.

Image search led to an article from Xinhua on July 3, 2018, which reported 15 senior Ivorian police officers came to the Wuluo Community Police Office in Hongshan on June 27, 2018, under a program called “Cote d’Ivoire Senior Law Enforcement Training Course.”

The police station signage, a banner and a man in a striped shirt were seen in both images

Annie Lab compared photos from a 2017 press release about the meeting between Tang Weibin, then Chinese ambassador to Ivory Coast, and Kouyate Issouf, Director of the Ivorian Police Headquarters and another photo from an article published by the news agency Agence Ivoirienne De Presse, with the photo in question.

We found that the insignia on their uniforms are identical, which confirms that the black officers belong to the Ivorian police.

The same police insignia can be seen in the three photos

Xinhua reported the 15 senior police officers were there to learn about the work of the Wuluo Community Police Office, the first specialized unit to serve foreign nationals in Hubei Province.

The article also said the unit employed foreign nationals, including those from Somalia, who volunteered to serve the community.

A news release by the Wuhan Public Security Bureau said in July last year that more than 120 foreigners from Nepal, Vietnam and other countries had joined the Wuluo Community Police volunteer team since its establishment in October 2016.

These multilingual volunteers help foreign nationals with accommodation registration, filing reports to the police and dispute mediation.

China introduced a similar initiative called “Front line Tour of Foreign Law Enforcement Liaison Officers” in November 2014.

In addition to Wuhan, similar international police exchanges between China and other countries reportedly took place in Xi’an, Chengdu, and Shanghai.

Cooperations between China and the police departments of other countries have increased since 2014, according to the Mercator Institute for China Studies.