China self destruct helmets: Real or fake news?
More reports of Chinese soldiers wearing so-called self destruct helmets have emerged in recent weeks on various alternative news platforms.
In fact google searches in the United States for the term ‘china self destruct helmets’ have risen by over 2000% in the past 7 days, according to search data.
So is it real? Is China really equipping its military personal with self destruct helmets?
Origins of the China self destruct helmets news?
We’ve traced back the origins of the reports to articles that interestingly emerged around the same time in 2021.
The first was from the Epoch Times, which claimed it sourced the information from a Chinese state-run media organisation called China Observer. However, China Observer, which is a YouTube Channel operating since 2020, is not an official state-owned media organisation.
The Epoch times report was then the basis of various other digital news reports and social media posts in January 2021.
The story was also viewed by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube when it was picked up by the China Uncensored YouTube channel, also in January 2021.
China self destruct helmets go viral again in January 2023
In the first few days of 2023, the story has since re-emerged, trending in google search, and on some social media platforms.
The new origin of the story appears to be from prominent YouTuber Roman Balmakov on his channel Facts Matter with Roman Balmakov. The channel has over 1 million subscribers.
“Did you know that China has been equipping their soldiers with helmets that have a self destruct button? Let me repeat that, Chinese soldiers stationed in Tibet are being issued helmets that have self destruct buttons,” said Roman Balmakov in his video published on January 4.
“You press the button, and a bomb that’s embedded in the helmet goes off and kills the soldier… What’s the reason for this? The Chinese military over the last several years now has been struggling with soldiers deserting.”
The video has had a staggering 1.9 million views in just a few days.
Notably, Balmakov uses the original Epoch Times article published in January 2021, as the source of his report.
Real or Fake News?
Despite the various reports, there is no official Chinese Government or Chinese state media statements about soldiers being equipped with self destruct helmets.
The China self destruct helmets reports, which cite state-media, cannot be validated.
Further, there are no images, video or other evidence supporting the use of self destruct helmets by Chinese soldiers.
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