VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pelosi DID NOT use a submarine to travel to Taiwan


A YouTube video that was reuploaded on Facebook (FB) used tweets from a columnist of a Chinese state-controlled newspaper saying that:

  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could enter Taiwan using a submarine; and
  • China threatened to shoot down or sink any vehicle carrying Pelosi to Taiwan.

Both are false. Pelosi got to Taiwan aboard a U.S. Air Force plane. The Chinese government did not threaten to shoot down the plane taking her to Taiwan. It was a columnist from the Chinese daily Global Times who gave a warning.

Uploaded on Aug. 2 by YouTube channel Terong Explained and reuploaded the same day by FB page Pwede Rin, the video’s title read: “HINDI NATINAG! Pelosi PALIHIM Na Papasok Sa Taiwan Gamit Ang Submarine (Unfazed! Pelosi to secretly enter Taiwan using a submarine)!”

In the video’s introduction, the narrator claimed: China, nagbanta na pababagsakin o palulubugin ang kahit anong sasakyan ni Pelosi papasok sa Taiwan. (China threatened to shoot down or sink any vehicle carrying Pelosi to Taiwan).

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pelosi DID NOT use a submarine to travel to Taiwan

Videos posted by CNN, Bloomberg, and BBC show that Pelosi’s plane landed at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan before 11:00 PM on Aug. 2. The U.S. Air Force plane carrying Pelosi used a flight path traversing the eastern side of the Philippines to avoid flying over the South China Sea, which is heavy with Chinese military presence.

The idea that Pelosi would enter Taiwan via submarine was floated in a July 30 tweet by Hu Xijin, former chief editor and current commentator for the Global Times.

Hu also tweeted a warning on July 29 that Chinese military forces have the right to shoot down Pelosi’s plane if it were escorted by US fighter jets to Taiwan. He deleted the tweet to regain access to his account which was temporarily blocked by Twitter, according to Reuters.

No Chinese government official has explicitly threatened to shoot down Pelosi’s plane, although some expressed strong opposition to the U.S. House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan, PolitiFact and NewsWeek reported.

“This move seriously violates the one-China principle, maliciously infringes on China’s sovereignty and blatantly engages in political provocations,” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister said in an Aug. 3 statement.

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province and an inalienable part of China and has criticized countries recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state. Pelosi, viewed as a hostile figure by China, said in an Aug. 2 statement that her congressional delegation’s visit to Taiwan “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant Democracy.”

The video by Terong Explained (created on Oct. 6, 2015) got over 40,600 views. A shorter version of that video uploaded by FB page Pwede Rin (created on May 28) got 3,900 reactions, 320 comments, and 152,000 views. Both appeared after news organizations reported on Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.


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