Baseless rumors alleging that the fires ravaging the West Coast of the US were caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are currently spreading on the Chinese social media including Twitter, WeChat, and Weibo. A video has become viral that shows flames being shot out of a helicopter is being claimed as hard evidence backing the false claim. The video that was posted on the social media platform Twitter received more than 4,000 retweets.
"CCP spy drone got caught. On September 9, officials from the FBI revealed that the U.S National Security Bureau's investigation showed that the wildfire spread along the west coast had sparked along the forest highways. The house of 57-year-old Chinese American Li Jianjun who had migrated to the U.S for 20 years was searched.
A video was found on his computer. The GPS record on his car shows that he traveled to the fire district many times in early August. The CCP's unrestricted warfare has extremely high ROI (Return on Investment) — by investing $10K, it can cost $10 billion damage. Assassinations and destructions are usually packaged as personal conflicts," the tweet read as reported by globalvoices.org.
Misinformation About West Coast Fires Spreading
Many fact-checking organizations of China debunked the claim. The clip was originally posted by an automotive news website called Tire Meets Road as part of an article on the 'heli-torch', a device of ignition hung from a copter, which disperses the ignited lumps of the gasoline.
The information regarding the Chinese-American citizen getting investigated for forest arson was also labeled as undergrounded by the fact-checking agencies. In China, the same clip, along with the similar baseless claim involving the forest fire having set by drone is also circulating on Weibo and WeChat, but without any reference to the CCP.
In the US, there have been many speculations regarding the wildfire getting caused by the leftist activists. As many fact-checking organizations, as well as the FBI, clarified that they are totally false, those claims continue to get circulated on social media and have traveled all the way to the Asian country.
The particular trend of misinformation seems to be having a wider narrative of 'unrestricted warfare' between China and the US. In recent times, the relation between both countries has deteriorated. The coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the relations as both have been playing blame game during the time of turmoil.