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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO Chinese soldiers spotted in Luzon

Chinese forces were spotted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Luzon.

YouTube channel Melvs Castle 2024-04-22 False

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has not confirmed the presence of thousands of Chinese soldiers in the country.

A video on YouTube alleged that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has discovered the presence of 3,000 Chinese military personnel in the country. This is not true.

On April 22, a YouTube channel published the video that bore this false headline:

“KAKAPASOK LANG NA BALITA! SPY NG CHINA NAPAG ALAMANG (sic) CHINESE MILITARY! NAKAKA BAHALA AFP NAALARMA NA

(Just in! Chinese spy confirmed to be Chinese military! AFP is alarmed).”

Further in the video’s thumbnail, the following text can also be read: 

GRABI (sic) NAKAKA KILABOT ITO! CHINESE ARMY NASA MANILA NA. TATLONG LIBONG MILITAR NG CHINA NASA PILIPINAS NA? ARESTADONG SPY UMAMIN NA

(This is chilling! Chinese army is now in Manila. Are 3,000 Chinese military personnel in the Philippines already? Arrested spy confessed).”

The narrator in the three-minute video claimed that more than 3,000 Chinese soldiers have already invaded Luzon, specifically Cagayan, and one alleged member of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was even arrested in Taguig City.

This is not true. The figure was taken from an initial intelligence report by the AFP that emerged a week before the spurious video was published, stating that there was a supposed influx of 4,600 Chinese students in Cagayan. The AFP has made no statement on the alleged presence of Chinese soldiers in Luzon mentioned in the video.

In an April 19 statement, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) stated that of the 1,516 Chinese nationals granted student visas in Cagayan, only 400 students are in the province and the rest are under distance learning. However, the agency said the students may still be subject to state investigation if found to be involved in illegal activities.

The Commission on Higher Education Regional Office 2 also said in an April 18 statement that no Chinese students were enrolled in the local colleges and universities in the province of Cagayan but they found a number of Chinese students enrolled in Saint Paul University Philippines – Tuguegarao City, a private college.

In a joint statement, the aforementioned private university, together with three others, stated that painting the students as spies is not only unfounded, but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes. The universities assert that the “rigorous screening processes” of agencies, such as the BI and the Department of Foreign Affairs, ensure that the students are not a national security threat.

On the other hand, the Chinese national who was arrested in Taguig for alleged possession of high-caliber firearms and attempted bribery has not been confirmed to be a member of the Chinese PLA. The investigation of the Philippine National Police is ongoing.

YouTube channel Melvs Castle (created on Dec. 2, 2011) published the video with a false claim, garnering over 46,000 views and 1,900 interactions.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)